New ace has 52 wins in past 3 seasons

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have a new pitching ace they hope
can repeat what he did for the Boston Red Sox in the postseason last October.

Derek Lowe, the second-winningest pitcher over the past three
seasons, finalized a $36 million, four-year contract with the
Dodgers on Tuesday after Los Angeles completed its trade to send
Shawn Green to Arizona.

Lowe was 14-12 with a 5.42 ERA in 33 starts with the Red Sox
last season, then went 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA during three postseason
starts and one relief appearance.

He was the winner in the final game of all three postseason
series -- against the Angels, Yankees and Cardinals -- as the Red Sox
won their first World Series in 86 years.

"Derek is a front-line starter with a history of success in the
regular season and in the postseason," Dodgers general manager
Paul DePodesta said. "He adds great depth to our rotation and will
help anchor our pitching staff for years to come. We're ecstatic
that we were able to add a pitcher of his caliber to our team."

Lowe, who passed a physical Monday, is due to be introduced at a
news conference Wednesday. He has won 52 games in the past three
seasons, tying Curt Schilling for second in the majors, one behind
Bartolo Colon.

A 31-year-old right-hander, Lowe has a 72-59 career record with
a 3.88 ERA and 85 saves. He had been with the Red Sox since July
1997, when he was acquired along with catcher Jason Varitek from
Seattle for reliever Heathcliff Slocumb.

Lowe was Boston's closer from 1999-2001 and had an AL-leading 42
saves in 2000. He has made 32 or more starts in each of the past
three seasons and has never been on the disabled list.

His best year was in 2002, when he went 21-8 with a 2.58 ERA and
finished third in the AL Cy Young Award voting.

Lowe will join Odalis Perez, Brad Penny and Jeff Weaver in the
Dodgers' rotation.

"We're going to have one of the best pitching staffs in
baseball this year," Perez said earlier this week after finalizing
his $24 million, three-year contract.

"As of today, when you look at our starting rotation and what
we have to offer in the bullpen, it will stack up pretty well with
anybody in our division," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "When
you look at the four guys at the top -- Penny, Lowe, Perez and
Weaver, those are four awfully good guys."

Tracy mentioned Kazuhisa Ishii, Edwin Jackson and Wilson Alvarez
as candidates for the fifth spot in the rotation.

"Pitching-wise, you definitely feel better today than you did
prior to going into a divisional series," Tracy said.

Los Angeles went 93-69 to win the NL West last year and played
in the postseason for the first time since 1996. They lost to the
eventual NL champion St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 in their best-of-five Division Series.

The Dodgers received highly touted catching prospect Dioner Navarro and minor league pitchers William Juarez, Danny Muegge and Beltran Perez for Green. They also gave the Diamondbacks $10 million.

"We have very high expectations for Dioner Navarro," Dodgers
owner Frank McCourt said. "I had a chance to meet him and spend a
little time with him yesterday. He's young, we don't want to push
him too fast. I believe he's going to be a great player."