Lowe expects to make scheduled start

Lowe expects to make scheduled start

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- With the blister on his right big toe looking much better than it had two days earlier, Derek Lowe arrived at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex on Friday morning and said he expects to make his next scheduled start.

Lowe exited Wednesday's forgettable one-inning stint against the Mets because of this blister, which he felt after throwing his third pitch of the afternoon. The problem area has since calloused enough to provide him confidence that he will be able to start Monday night against the Nationals in Viera, Fla., live on MLB.TV beginning at 7:05 p.m. ET.

The Braves also seem optimistic about Lowe remaining on schedule. But if they opt to take a precautionary route by having him skip this start, the 36-year-old sinkerballer believes there is still plenty of time for him to make the necessary preparations before his April 5 Opening Day start against the Cubs.

"If it's going to happen, it couldn't have happened at a better time," Lowe said. "It would have been bad for it to happen on your last start [of Spring Training]."

While allowing three runs and five hits in one inning against the Mets, Lowe threw 27 pitches. Under normal circumstances, he would have been removed after three innings or 50 pitches.

"Missing one start in Spring Training really doesn't set you back," he said. "And I struggled, so it wasn't like I didn't throw a lot of pitches. I was probably only about 20 pitches away from what I was supposed to throw."

To make up for what he termed "a wasted day," Lowe plans to extend the bullpen session that he's slated to complete on Saturday.

Lowe blamed the development of this blister on the fact that just this year he opted to end his normal practice of wrapping his toe before mound sessions or games.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.