Twins place Scott Baker on disabled list, let Kevin Slowey out of doghouse

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Kevin Slowey has been in the Twins’ doghouse all season because he didn’t take well to becoming a reliever when demoted from the rotation during spring training, but after spending several months in the minors he’s back in Minnesota to replace the injured Scott Baker.

As expected, Baker was placed on the disabled list with ongoing elbow problems. Initially the Twins indicated that Anthony Swarzak would get the nod if a rotation replacement was needed, but instead they called up Slowey. His first start will come Sunday against the Indians.

I’ve criticized the Twins’ handling of Slowey, from choosing Nick Blackburn and Brian Duensing over him for rotation spots to tearing him down through the media when he reacted poorly to the prospect of becoming a reliever after four successful seasons as a starter. With that said, it’s good to see them finally giving him another chance. For whatever faults Slowey has and however much blame he deserves for the negative situation, he’s a 27-year-old with a 4.42 ERA as a starter and the Twins can use the help.

Slowey was one of the Twins’ five best starters back in March and he’s one of the Twins’ five best starters now. Of course, if he pitches well in place of Baker the Twins would surely listen to trade offers on Slowey.

Victor Martinez played his final major league game on Saturday

Victor Martinez
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After 16 years in the majors, longtime Tigers DH Victor Martinez capped his career with one final start at Comerica Park. Although there are seven games remaining in the club’s regular season schedule, Martinez said he felt he owed it to the fans to record his final at-bat at home. He’ll still cheer the rest of the team on from the dugout when they hit the road for their last six-game stretch on Monday, though he’s not expected to slot into the lineup at any point during their back-to-back away series against the Twins and Brewers.

In order to commemorate the occasion, the Tigers arranged a pregame ceremony to celebrate the veteran infielder’s seven years with the team, during which they presented him with Topps baseball cards, a recliner, a pair of boots, and a saddle, among other honors. Martinez also put in a special request to play first base, a position he hadn’t manned in over two years.

The 39-year-old didn’t waste a single minute of his final start in the majors. He deftly handled an inning-ending out in the top of the first, then laced a rare infield single to short in his first and final at-bat of the afternoon, beating the throw to first and advancing Nicholas Castellanos to second base in order to set up the Tigers’ first run: a two-out RBI single from Niko Goodrum that brought Castellanos home to score.

“I think that at-bat was the perfect at-bat to describe my career,” Martinez told reporters after the Tigers wrapped a 5-4 win over the Royals. “I had to sweat it out. I had to sweat it out the whole way. I had to grind it. That was my whole career.”

Following the hit — and the standing ovation that greeted it — the switch-hitter was promptly replaced by pinch-runner Ronny Rodriguez, who subbed in at second base in the top of the second while Goodrum shifted from second to first base. Taking Saturday’s performance into account, Martinez polished off his big league career with a lifetime .295/.359/.455 batting line, 423 doubles, 246 home runs, 1,178 RBI, and 28.4 fWAR across 1,973 games and three separate stints for the Indians, Red Sox, and Tigers. His accomplishments at the plate have been decorated with five All-Star nominations, two Silver Slugger Awards, and the designated hitter-exclusive Edgar Martinez Award following a career-best campaign in 2014.