Rockies land Slowey in trade with Twins

Rockies land Slowey in trade with Twins

Rockies land Slowey in trade with Twins
DALLAS -- The Rockies' search for a solid pitcher to help a young rotation led them to acquire right-hander Kevin Slowey from the Twins on Tuesday for a player to be named.

The Twins are likely to receive a player not on the Rockies' 40-man roster.

Slowey, 27, who is coming off a difficult 2011 in which he struggled with a switch to the bullpen early, battled forearm and abdominal injuries and finished the year 0-8 with a 6.67 ERA in 14 appearances, including eight starts. Slowey went 13-6 with a 4.45 ERA in 30 games, 28 starts, in 2010.

"As far as last year is concerned, put very succinctly, I need to put the year behind me," Slowey said. "I'm looking forward to what 2012 has to bring."

Over 100 career appearances, including 90 starts, Slowey is 39-29 with a 4.66 ERA. The Rockies were intrigued by Slowey because his 1.42 walks per nine innings since the 2007 season is the second-lowest mark in the Majors, and his 4.70 strikeouts-to-walks ratio over the same period ranks third in the Majors. Slowey is a fly-ball pitcher (0.66 fly balls per ground ball) and the 1.42 homers he has yielded per nine innings represent the second-highest figure in the Majors over that span.

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The fly-ball-oriented stats can be troublesome at Coors Field, but he also succeeded in Minnesota's old Metrodome -- a place known as "the homer dome."

"That's really the only approach that I know. It's an approach that's been successful for me in the past," Slowey said. "I'm looking forward to getting to know their coaching staff and kind of going from there."

The Rockies attempted to acquire Slowey at last season's non-waiver Trade Deadline and have liked his aggressiveness in the strike zone. They see him as a back-of-the-rotation pitcher who could pitch out of the bullpen, even though he did not have success in that capacity last season. Slowey also was attractive to the Rockies because he is in the second year of arbitration eligibility, meaning the club controls him for the next two seasons, and he has a Minor League option.

But if he performs as the Rockies expect, he could give the rotation much-needed experience at the start of the season, with veteran lefty Jorge De La Rosa coming off Tommy John ligament transfer surgery and not expected back until around June.

"I know he's a fly-ball pitcher but he's potentially going to get a lot of starts that are fine with that, too [in the National League West]," Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said. "He won a lot of games at one time, though, in the Metrodome."

Rockies manager Jim Tracy said Slowey could serve as an example to a young rotation that too often ran up high pitch counts early in games last season.

"He's a consistent strike thrower that, from what I've seen of him, what I know of him, does not beat himself. The other team's bats will beat him but he won't beat himself," Tracy said.

Slowey, who said he has been working through the renowned University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's sports program to attempt to head off future injuries, believes he learned from last season.

"It was a challenging year for me in a lot of ways," Slowey said. There were a lot of ups and downs. I learned by leaning on some of the veteran players in Minnesota, guys like Jim Thome, Carl Pavano, Justin Morneau. I spoke to them about struggle and failure and coming back from it."

The addition of Slowey adds to the Rockies' starting-pitching depth. Colorado is still are seeking another experienced pitcher in a trade. The Rockies have made a run at Reds right-hander Edinson Volquez, for example, although nothing was imminent as of Tuesday evening.

Free-agent righty Hiroki Kuroda is another possibility, but he is reported to be seeking $13 million next season, and the Rockies would have to clear salary through other means.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.