Major League Notebook
The baseball notebook …
ATLANTA ó Derek Lowe is eager to accept the responsibility of returning the Atlanta Braves to the playoffs for contenders.
“I hope people expect a lot out of me,” Lowe said Friday, a day after finalizing a $60 million, four-year contract. “I hope people look at you when you face a (Johan) Santana or a (Cole) Hamels and you don’t have success, I want people to be upset about that. That’s a pressure I’ve always enjoyed.”
A shell of the team that made 14 consecutive playoff appearances, Atlanta finished fourth in the NL East last year behind the defending World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies, the big-spending New York Mets and the Florida Marlins. The Braves’ 72-90 record was their poorest since 1990, the year before the great run began.
Braves general manager Frank Wren acquired Javier Vazquez from the Chicago White Sox, then signed Japanese all-star Kenshin Kawakami as free agents.
Lowe, who went 54-48 with a 3.58 ERA for the Los Angeles Dodgers over the last four years, also had been sought by the Mets.
“We like our club a lot,” Wren said with a smile. “You’ve got to start off with your starting pitching.”
PHILLIESPHILADELPHIA ó Greg Dobbs and the Philadelphia Phillies agreed Friday to a $2.5 million, two-year contract that avoided arbitration for the pinch-hitting specialist.
Dobbs hit .301 with nine home runs and 40 RBIs in 128 games for the World Series champions. He batted .355 with two home runs and 16 RBIs as a pinch hitter, leading major leaguers in pinch hits (22) and second in pinch-RBIs. His 22 pinch hits set a Phillies season record.
CUBSCHICAGO ó Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella gave Milton Bradley a warm welcome when the two met Friday. A handshake, an embrace and an arm around his shoulder.
“Glad to have you here,” Piniella said at the team’s winter convention as cameras captured the greeting.
Bradley’s three-year, $30 million contract will give the Cubs a solid bat in the middle of their lineup. And they hope there are no problems from a player whose career has featured emotional outbursts.
“I think the fact he has a three-year contract over here with the Cubs shows we were fairly interested in him and wanted him. I think we will do just fine with him,” Piniella said.
NEW YORK ó The New York Yankees and Mets won their fight to get public backing for additional financing for their new ballpark that will save them hundreds of millions of dollars interest payments.
The city’s Industrial Development Agency on Friday approved additional public bond requests for the teams.
The Yankees were granted another $259 million in tax-exempt bonds.
The Mets got an additional $83 million, after the $615 million already approved for $800 million Citi Field.