NEW YORK - When Twins righthander Kevin Slowey and R.A. Dickey sat for breakfast Monday morning in Manhattan, the two pitchers were sitting at sea level, talking about an adventure that will take them 19,341 feet into thin air.
Dickey, a Twins reliever in 2009 who now is a top starting pitcher for the Mets, is organizing a group that will set off from Africa in January to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. Slowey has agreed to join the excursion, which will help raise money for a charity called the Bombay Teen Challenge, a group fighting against sexual trafficking in Mumbai, India.
"R.A. and I have gotten to be good friends," Slowey said. "This is something that if you get the chance to go do, you'd be remiss not to consider it. And it's definitely for a great cause."
Besides Slowey, Dickey's climbing group will include Mets bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello and Mets physical therapist John Zajac, according to the New York Times, which first reported the story Sunday.
Slowey said he is open to talking to the Twins if they have any concerns. Teams might frown on rope climbing, for example, but this won't involve any of that.
"There is no technical climbing involved, though it'll still be a very difficult physical endeavor," Slowey said. "It's basically a 12-day hike with stops at different altitudes."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he did not want to use Joe Nathan on Monday, after he threw 31 pitches Sunday for his first save since Oct. 3, 2009.
"I'm sure Nathan feels great, but we kind of have a plan with him, so I think [it'd be Matt] Capps at the end of the game today," Gardenhire said. "I haven't talked to Nathan about that, but when we call down there, it won't be his name."
Gardenhire said the Twins hope to avoid using Nathan on back-to-back games for the season's "first month or so." They might make an exception if Nathan has an easy outing, but with "an inning like [Sunday], you definitely won't want to put him out there."
Gardenhire said his decision not to start Michael Cuddyer on Monday had nothing to do with Cuddyer's health. The manager simply wanted to get Jim Thome in the lineup against Yankees rookie Ivan Nova.
Gardenhire had said he planned to use Thome to rest Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, Justin Morneau and Delmon Young. He said those decisions won't be as based as much on left/right matchups as how each of these players are swinging.
When Brian Duensing faces the Yankees on Tuesday, in his first start of the season, he will be pitching on nine days of rest.
Duensing has thrown extra bullpen sessions since his last spring game, March 26 against the Red Sox, and doesn't expect the extra rest to be a factor. He is hoping for better results than his last start at Yankee Stadium, in Game 3 of last year's Division Series, which turned into a 6-1, season-ending loss for the Twins.
"I'd like to have a good outing so I can actually enjoy coming here," Duensing said.