Lowe Assumes Burden of Leadership in Atlanta

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ATLANTA (AP) - Derek Lowe says he's eager to accept the
responsibility of returning the Atlanta Braves to the playoffs.
Lowe said today he hopes people expect a lot out of him.

The Braves 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 their
run of 14 straight first place finishes began.

Braves general manager Frank Wren was unable to acquire Jake
Peavy in a trade or lure A.J. Burnett as a free agent. So he
acquired Javier Vazquez from the Chicago White Sox and then signed
Japanese all-star Kenshin Kawakami as free agents. Finally he added
Lowe, who went 54-48 with a 3.58 ERA for the Los Angeles Dodgers
over the last four years.

As a result, Wren thinks Atlanta has reduced the burden on Jair
Jurrjens, who went 13-10 with a 3.68 ERA as a rookie. Jurrjens
doesn't turn 22 until later this month.