Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He has been a Star Tribune sports columnist since 1988. His sportswriting credo is twofold: 1. God will provide an angle; 2. The smaller the ball, the better the writing.

Email Patrick.

As bad guys go, Slowey wasn't that bad

Posted by: Patrick Reusse Updated: June 26, 2013 - 9:03 PM

Kevin Slowey was getting bad-mouthed so much behind the scenes by the Twins’ on-field brain trust in 2011 that even Bert Blyleven and Dick Bremer felt empowered to rip him.

When a player receives that treatment on a Twins’ telecast, it is safe to assume that his days with the club are nearing an end. As it turned out, Slowey was given away that December to Colorado for Daniel Turpen, a minor-league pitcher.

Slowey pitched so poorly in 2011 that he had to go, but I’ve always found it ridiculous to hear some people suggest that he was almost an evil presence around the team.

He was a big admirer of his own intelligence and condescending in dealing with people, including reporters. But there are people who are tough to get along with, and there are actual bad guys. Slowey fit into the first category, not the second.

One reason for the hostility toward Slowey from many in the organization and the Minnesota media at the end in Minnesota might have been the hope there was for him at the beginning. He started off as a personable kid as a 22-year-old rookie in spring training of 2007.

This was the lead of a Slowey column I wrote in mid-March of that year:

FORT MYERS, FLA. – There were three pitchers going through bullpen sessions simultaneously Monday morning. Kevin Slowey was in the middle, with Ramon Ortiz to the left and Carmen Cali to the right.
When Ortiz or Cali made a comment in Spanish, Slowey would respond in kind. This is convenient, because when you're as verbal as Slowey, one language might not be enough…
"I was pretty quiet for the first week," Slowey said. "I found out the people here are such good guys - from the stars to the last guy - that I started being myself."
Which would be: extroverted.''

Slowey made his big-league debut that year with 11 starts, two relief appearances, a 4-1 record and a 4.73 ERA.

The Twins traded Johan Santana after that season and Slowey seized a place in the rotation. From 2008 through 2010, he was 35-20 with a 4.36 ERA in 406 2/3 innings.

Actually, it was 2 ½ seasons, since he missed the second half of 2009 with an injured right wrist that required surgery. Slowey was 10-2 with a 4.04 ERA in late June, before trying to pitch through the sore wrist and having a pair of three-inning starts in which he was pounded.

Slowey was 13-6 with a 4.45 ERA in 2010. Nick Blackburn was 10-12 with a 5.42 ERA. Scott Baker was coming back from injury. When training camp opened, the Twins said that Slowey, Blackburn and Baker were competing for two of three openings in the rotation.

Baker was making a large salary. The Twins weren’t going away from him. So, when manager Ron Gardenhire prematurely ended the competition – announcing on March 5 that Blackburn would be in his rotation – Slowey was miffed.

And he was justified in that, considering the numbers for the two right-handers. Slowey’s status became official on March 22, when Gardenhire gave the fifth spot in the rotation to Baker.

“We’re going to get Slowey ready to pitch in the bullpen,’’ the manager said.

All Hades broke loose after that, with Slowey balking at the bullpen assignment, getting sent out, and finish 0-8 with a 6.67 ERA in that disastrous season. Then came the trade.

It took former Twins catcher Mike Redmond, now Miami’s manager, to rescue Slowey and give him a shot this season. He pitched three scoreless innings – out of the bullpen – to beat the Twins on Wednesday.

He had to enjoy that. And as flawed as was Slowey’s thinking in 2011, it was no worse than was the Twins in turning a pitcher who had been an asset over the course of the three previous seasons (35-20, 4.36) into a pariah.




New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
New Orleans 99
Minnesota 84 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
Orlando 94 FINAL
Memphis 103
Boston 99 FINAL
Utah 90
Denver 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 84 FINAL
NC A&T 71
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Campbell 78
MD-Eastern Shore 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Stephen F Austin 82 FINAL
Lamar 65
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
New Orleans 87
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
SE Louisiana 61
Sam Houston St 80 FINAL
Abilene Christian 63
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 66 FINAL
Alabama A&M 78
Southern U 59 FINAL
Alabama State 63
Prairie View 68 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 105
Texas 86 FINAL
Iowa State 89
Texas Southern 85 FINAL
Miss Valley St 84
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 59 FINAL
Auburn 48
(15) Nebraska 72 FINAL
(20) Iowa 78
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question