Lowery’s option declined; other moves

The San Francisco Giants made some moves this week to set their 40-man roster for 2010.

The Giants reinstated pitchers Noah Lowry (elbow/forearm), Justin Miller (elbow) and Kelvin Pichardo from the 60-day disabled list and outrighted the players to Triple-A Fresno. The Giants also declined a $6.25 million option for 2010 on Lowry, as expected. Lowry hasn’t pitched since 2007 with elbow and forearm problems. Because Lowry and Miller have more the five-year MLB experience, they can decline their assignment and opt for free agency.

Lowry’s agent, Damon Lapa, told Chris Haft of MLB.com that his client will opt for free agency. Lapa said that Lowry is throwing three times a week and “is back to his pre-injury form.” Of course, MLB teams will believe that when they see it. That likely won’t come until next spring. At best, Lowry can hope for signing a minor-league deal with a team and get a spring training invite to show teams that he’s ready to pitch again in the big leagues. He just turned 29 years old last week, and teams are always on the look out for left-handed pitching. But given that, we’d expect to see Lowry opening the 2010 season in the minors.

Whether the Giants would be in the mix for Lowry’s services is uncertain. Lapa may have alienated his client with the team by claiming earlier this year the Giants had misdiagnosed Lowry’s injury. On the other hand, Lowry had been paid an average of $2.5 million a year the past two seasons for basically doing nothing on the field.

Miller had a solid season in the bullpen for the Giants, going 3-3 with a 3.18 ERA in 56 innings of relief. His season ended in early September with elbow inflammation. He has orthroscopic surgery on the elbow in early October. He told the San Francisco Chronicle that he expects to be ready to pitch next spring and hopes to re-sign with the Giants.

Pichardo, 24, missed most of the 2009 season, first by serving a 50-game suspension for testing positve for performance-enhancing drug, then going to the disabled list with a shoulder strain. Pichardo is apparently going to play in the Dominican Winter League.




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