Twins send Slowey to minors; Cali recalled

NEW YORK - Twins rookie righthander Kevin Slowey was sent back to Class AAA Rochester after Thursday's 7-5 loss and replaced by lefthanded reliever Carmen Cali.

After watching the bullpen log too many innings during the Yankees series, the Twins decided to make sure they had enough fresh arms for today's doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox.

"He would still be learning on the job here," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Slowey, "but we're in a little bit of a bind here."

Still, the move enables Slowey to take a step back and refine his game. He heads for Rochester with a 3-0 record, a 5.84 ERA and 13 homers given up in 37 innings.

"The biggest thing is you realize what are good pitches here aren't necessarily the same as a good pitch in Triple-A," Slowey said. "Your misses have to be way finer here. I feel that has been my problem and I've really got to work on, when I go down, my misses being balls as opposed to back over the plate and a little too hittable. Goodness knows I got plenty to work on."

Slowey threw first-pitch strikes to all four batters he faced in the first inning, but Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera homered off him in the second as the Yankees took a 5-2 lead.

Cali, who pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings during a stint with the Twins earlier this season, was 3-0 with a 2.93 ERA over 30 2/3 innings at Rochester.

Castillo still sore

There is concern that second baseman Luis Castillo, who needs extra days off here and there to rest his legs, might not be ready to play today despite having taken off the past two games.

"I was trying to get him loose at the end [Thursday] and he was having a tough time," Gardenhire said. "I don't have an answer for you."

Nick Punto could get a third consecutive start at second base today.

Speaking of Nicky ...

Punto hit a seeing-eye single to center in the sixth inning to end an 0-for-22 slump, Punto entered the game batting .202 in what has been a horrible offensive season for him.

To his credit, he's continued to play great defense. His play on Wednesday, when he made a barehand grab of Cabrera's grounder and threw him out while horizontal in midair, is being hailed by the Twins as one of the top plays in baseball this season.

"I take a lot of pride in my defense," Punto said. "When you're not hitting, that's the last thing you can do, go out there and take it out to the field.

"If you're not going to drive in runs, you better take them away. That's the way I feel about defense. I definitely can't afford to go out there and play bad defense."

For his mom

Luis Rodriguez doesn't play much, so he was thrilled to contribute Wednesday, when he homered during the Twins' 6-2 victory.

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