Lowe can’t throw, will miss next start

Derek Lowe will skip his scheduled start Friday for the Atlanta Braves because of lingering pain in his right elbow.

Lowe received a cortisone shot and had hoped to go out for his regular off-day throwing session Wednesday, but his elbow was still too sore. The NL East-leading Braves decided to shut him down for a few days, hoping that will relieve his discomfort and allow him to finish out the season.

”It hadn’t gotten any better,” Lowe said. ”I want to pitch, but you’ve got to be smart. I can struggle on my own. I don’t need any help.”

General manager Frank Wren said team doctors don’t think it’s the sort of injury that will require season-ending surgery. Lowe’s pain is in the back of the elbow, usually not the sign of a problem that would require a major procedure such as Tommy John surgery.

”They think it’s just irritated in the posterior part of the elbow and they just need to get it calmed down,” Wren said.

The 37-year-old Lowe has never been on the disabled list. In fact, this will be the first time he’s missed a scheduled start. Kenshin Kawakami, who began the season as Atlanta’s fifth starter, will go Friday in the opener of a weekend series at Florida.

Kawakami was demoted to the bullpen after going 1-9. He was then shipped to Triple-A Gwinnett so he could resume a regular turn as a starter, just in case something like this happened.

”He’s a veteran. He competes. Just having gone down and made the starts, gotten stretched out to where he’s ready to go six innings, that’s a big help,” Wren said. ”He’s not going to be intimidated or in awe of pitching up here. We feel very comfortable about him making that start. Then we’ll see where it goes from there. Hopefully Derek’s fine after 10 days and he’s ready to jump back in.”

Lowe (11-12, 4.53 ERA) has been a bit of a disappointment for the Braves in the second season of a four-year, $60 million contract. But the team can’t afford to lose another starter, having already called up rookie Mike Minor after Kris Medlen went down with a season-ending elbow injury.

”We’re very hopeful that Derek will miss just one start and jump back into the rotation after that,” Wren said.