Twins pick Scott Baker as fifth starter, send Kevin Slowey to bullpen

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By re-signing Carl Pavano to a two-year, $16.5 million deal the Twins created a rotation logjam with six starters for five spots and today they announced that Scott Baker will be the No. 5 guy, leaving Kevin Slowey bullpen bound as the odd man out.

Baker and Slowey both significantly out-performed Nick Blackburn last season and have similar, if not superior, career marks, yet manager Ron Gardenhire awarded Blackburn his rotation spot weeks ago. As for Baker getting the nod over Slowey, that’s definitely not a surprise.

Not only was Baker the Opening Day starter last season, he’s been a full-time member of the Twins’ rotation since 2007 while posting an ERA below 4.50 in each of those seasons. Oh, and he’s also owed $11.5 million for this season and next, whereas Slowey will get $2.7 million this year with no long-term commitment from the Twins.

All of which isn’t to say Slowey deserves a demotion to the bullpen. He hasn’t been very durable in three full seasons with the Twins, tossing a career-high 160 innings in 2008, but a 4.42 ERA in 82 career starts makes him a perfectly solid mid-rotation guy. There’s been speculation about the Twins souring on Slowey on and off the field for a while now, and my sense is that they’d love to trade him for an impact reliever. In the meantime they’ll hope he can contribute out of the bullpen while serving as insurance should injuries strike or Blackburn bomb again.

Danny Farquhar in critical condition after suffering ruptured aneurysm

Danny Farquhar
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Awful news for the White Sox and reliever Danny Farquhar: the right-hander remains hospitalized with a brain hemorrhage, per a team announcement on Saturday. He’s in stable but critical condition after sustaining a “ruptured aneurysm [that] caused the brain bleed” on Friday.

Farquhar, 31, passed out in the dugout during the sixth inning of Friday’s game against the Astros. He regained consciousness shortly after the incident and was taken to RUSH University Medical Center, where he’s expected to continue treatment with Dr. Demetrius Lopez in the neurological ICU unit.

“It takes your breath away a little bit,” club manager Rick Renteria said following the game. “One of your guys is down there and you have no idea what’s going on. […] When one of your teammates or anybody you know has an episode, even if it’s not a teammate, something is going on, you realize everything else you keep in perspective. Everything has its place. It’s one of our guys, so we are glad he was conscious when he left here.”