PHOENIX - Twins righthander Kevin Slowey, who has struggled as a reliever, looks headed to Class AAA Rochester to stretch out as a starter -- but there are indications a different change of scenery is possible.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson met with Slowey over the weekend about his role on the club and said Sunday on his weekly radio show on 1500ESPN that he believes the best thing is to find Slowey a place to start.
"I honestly think the right thing [is to let Slowey start somewhere], and that's what we're trying to talk about now," Gardenhire said on the show. "We talked with Kevin, we're going to talk with Billy [Smith, Twins general manager] when we get home and try to figure out the right thing for Kevin to make sure he keeps his arm in good shape and all those things."
Slowey said in a text message late Sunday that he believes there's a possibility he'll be traded. He told Gardenhire during their meeting that working out of the bullpen is tough for him. He has a 4.91 ERA in six outings and gave up two earned runs in two-thirds of an inning Friday in his last outing. His season has been hampered by bursitis in his right shoulder that forced him to the 15-day disabled list last month.
Speaking after Sunday's loss to Arizona, Slowey suggested he might be better off elsewhere.
"I understand our situation here," he said. "I understand the starters we have here, and I understand that, even given past successes as a starter, this might not be the right fit for me anymore."
Slowey, a second-round draft pick in 2005, has a career record of 39-21 with the Twins and is known for his excellent control. His value probably has taken a short-term hit because of the DL stint and limited appearances out of the bullpen.
But pitching well at Rochester could boost his value to the point where the Twins could get a decent player in return for him.
First, Slowey will have an MRI this week on his stomach area, which has been bothering him. If he checks out fine, he probably will head to Rochester to build his endurance.
"It's a difficult situation," Slowey said. "I don't think either party is thrilled about how it went down. Hopefully it is something we can come to a decision on and move on."
Gardenhire has been trying to set roles in the bullpen but has been unable to determine when he can count on Slowey because of the time he needs to warm up and recover. Gardenhire said it has hampered the bullpen.
"I can't adapt," Gardenhire said. "He has to adapt as a player. I can't say [someone] is going to get knocked out in the third, so you start throwing in the third so I can have you ready for the fifth because you need that much time. I can't manage like that.
"And he told me [Saturday] he is having a hard time and doesn't think he can do it."
Following Sunday's game, the Twins optioned outfielder Ben Revere and infielder Luke Hughes to Class AAA Rochester so they can reinstate designated hitter Jim Thome and outfielder Jason Repko from the 15-day disabled list.
Both Thome and Repko will be available Monday when the Twins play host to Seattle.
Gardenhire said Revere and Hughes need at-bats, but added it was tough sending down Revere because of his speed and ability to put the ball in play.
"I really liked Ben Revere," Gardenhire said. "I know he needs to swing. I know he needs at-bats. But it's a hard one for me, sending Ben down right now."
Revere was 2-for-4 on Sunday and is batting .242. He booted a double to center in the seventh that enabled Willie Bloomquist to advance to third and eventually score the winning run. Revere also made a fine running catch of Ryan Roberts' drive to the warning track right after that.
Hughes batted .211 with one homer in 25 games.