Kevin Slowey and the Twins are moving toward a trade

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Kevin Slowey and the Twins have been heading in this direction since they demoted him to the bullpen during spring training despite a 4.42 ERA in 82 career starts and now LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that a trade may be in the works.

According to Neal the Twins are talking to Slowey about accepting an assignment to Triple-A so he can get stretched out as a starter again, but “there are indications a different change of scenery is possible.”

Ron Gardenhire hinted about a trade during his weekly radio interview Sunday and Slowey did more than hint at the same thing:

I understand our situation here. 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. It’s a difficult situation. 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.

Slowey has struggled to adjust to a bullpen workload, often being unavailable for multiple games at a time because of arm soreness, and he was never particularly durable as a starter. However, with a 4.42 ERA he’s proven himself as a perfectly solid mid-rotation starter and while this stat is far more misleading than it is meaningful, Slowey has the second-highest winning percentage in Twins history behind only Johan Santana.

There should be a decent trade market for Slowey, as he’s a 27-year-old mid-rotation starter with a reasonable 2011 salary ($2.7 million) and under team control via arbitration in 2012 and 2013. If the Twins don’t want his 150 innings of 4.50 ERA pitching in their rotation, some other team will. My guess is they swap him to an NL team for a mid-level prospect.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.