Tampa Bay 2016 first-round Draft pick Josh Lowe credits his older brother Nate with helping him develop his lightning quickness, thanks to all those times as a kid when Josh would have to run and try to escape his wrath.
"Nate was always a bigger kid, so whenever he could get his hands on me, it wasn't fair," he said. "But I could occasionally get him one time, and then I'd run away, because I was quicker than him. It will probably always be like that."
Nate Lowe is still helping Josh develop his skills and vice versa -- only it's not in the backyard anymore.
After the Rays selected Josh out of powerhouse Pope High School in Georgia, they took Nate in the 13th round out of Mississippi State. This year the Lowe brothers are teammates with the Class A Bowling Green Hot Rods, and their relationship is focused on helping each other reach the Major Leagues.
Josh, a 19-year-old outfielder, is batting .228 with three homers, two triples, nine doubles and 16 RBIs. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound left-handed hitter is more of a table-setter than his brother, who's one of the team's RBI leaders. Nate, a first baseman listed at 6-foot-4, 235 pounds who also swings left-handed, is hitting .287 with three homers, 10 doubles and 26 RBIs.
"It's a healthy relationship," Josh said. "At the end of the day, we're family. It's fun.
"Other than playing in the backyard, we only played one season together before this, when I was a freshman in high school and he was a senior. I got called up to varsity for the playoff push. I pitched in most of the games in the playoffs, and we ended up winning the state championship, so that was pretty cool. Maybe we can try and do one of those here."
Nate (left) and Josh promote recent 'Top Gun' Jersey Auction (Maggie Fields/Bowling Green Hot Rods)
Nate said they still compete, but he doesn't play the older brother card very often.
"Josh is reasonably mature for being 19 years old and having the world in his hands," Nate said. "He's got his head on straight. The only thing I could tell him to do here and there is to stop playing so many video games, because he loves those video games.
"There's a constructive edge to that competition -- we can bounce things off each other and make it work for both of our benefits," Nate continued. "I wouldn't say by any means that I'm the textbook role model for him, but because I've been around, because I transferred twice and went to three different schools and played in the [New York-] Penn League … I can say, 'Watch out for this. When you see this happen, try to go about it this way.' It's not just me who does stuff like that for him."
Nate will offer advice on surviving life in hotel rooms, what to eat before or after a game or other issues that confront college and Minor League players.
"I do my best to be constructive to him off the field and as a human as much as I do on the field as a player," Nate said.
Video: Bowling Green's Josh Lowe rips triple
Josh said he loves being able to share his baseball journey with a family member.
"We're always bouncing ideas off each other, sharing what works, what doesn't," Josh said. "It's great to be able to go to somebody to talk to when you need that, and it's family."
Nate expected to be drafted by the Braves in the 20th round. When the Rays called in the 13th, it turned out to be a blessing for the Lowe family.
Both Nate and Josh said their baseball experience has been nurtured by their parents.
David Lowe was a fifth-round selection by the Mariners in 1986. He was also a football and basketball commit to Vanderbilt but instead chose a more noble calling and went to the Naval Academy, serving as a pilot for 20 years.
"Our parents have done so much for us," Josh said. "Our playing on the same team is really a blessing for the family."
Welcome back: St. Louis second baseman Kolten Wong is scheduled for rehab games in Peoria this week. Wong, who was placed on the DL with an elbow injury May 28, is hitting .278 this season for St. Louis. He played in the Midwest League in 2011, batting .335 and helping the Quad Cities River Bandits win the championship.
Rusty stretch: Fort Wayne players had a day off, then worked extra innings. The TinCaps, who've lost 17 of their last 20 games entering action Tuesday, lost a 13-inning game to Lake County by a 2-1 score. The TinCaps hit into five double plays in the loss.
Homer derby: West Michigan took advantage of a 30-mph wind to wallop four homers but still suffered a 10-5 loss to Lake County as the Captains blasted three homers in the game. West Michigan's total was one shy of the club record set in 2004. The loss ended a six-game winning streak for the Whitecaps and snapped a six-game losing skid for Lake County.