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Updated: August 9th, 2011 3:42pm
Scott Baker placed on DL; Kevin Slowey to rejoin team Friday

Scott Baker placed on DL; Kevin Slowey to rejoin team Friday

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- For a while this summer, it was uncertain whether Kevin Slowey would ever pitch again for the Minnesota Twins.

But with Scott Baker still suffering from elbow discomfort, the Twins elected to place the right-hander on the disabled list Tuesday and recall Slowey in time for Friday's game in Cleveland.

Slowey will start Sunday in Baker's place.

"It's the same thing he's had," Gardenhire about Baker's discomfort. "A little tendonitis in the muscle around his elbow. It's the same thing, it's just not going away, so they're going to shut him down."

The plan is for Baker to abstain from throwing until after the Twins return home from a six-game road trip next weekend.

Baker allowed five earned runs in six innings to the Red Sox on Monday night, and after the game he told the team his right flexor tendon is still giving him problems.

"We can't continue like it is," Gardenhire said. "He's feeling it. He had a good four or five innings last night, and then he really lost the feel for it. The ball wouldn't come out. (He) starts trying to overthrow the ball, and that's not good. That's why we'll just shut him down, let him try to get well."

Baker spent two weeks on the DL in mid-July with the same discomfort. He also received two cortisone shots last year in the same elbow, which eventually led to him having offseason clean-up surgery. Baker has talked all season, dating back to spring training, about his difficulties getting and staying loose.

Slowey was officially optioned to Triple-A Rochester on July 21 after spending nearly two months rehabbing a mild abdominal strain. He did not see eye-to-eye with the team regarding his role early in the season, which led to both sides agreeing to dump the bullpen experiment.

In 11 minor league starts between Single-A and Triple-A so far this season, Slowey owns a 3.60 ERA with 38 strikeouts, six walks and four home runs allowed in 50 innings.

Gardenhire indicated last week that right-hander Anthony Swarzak would be his first option to jump into the rotation if things needed to be shuffled. But that "didn't make sense," in this instance, Gardenhire said.

"You got a good pitcher down there like Slowey, throwing the ball well. He's doing good, he's healthy. We don't have enough pitching really in place to be able to take (Swarzak) out (of the bullpen). Slowey can't come up here and go out of the 'pen, so I'm not going to do that.

"So this is the right thing. Just bring Slowey up, slide him in the rotation, keep Swarzy where he's at. He's done really well. We talked to Swarzy about it. He's fine with it.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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