In a recent profile, Twins starting pitcher Kevin Slowey made some rather candid comments.
When asked about his progress in rehabilitating his right wrist, Slowey remarked that the wrist – now equipped with two screws - feels different. While the procedure was a success and able to remove the bone particles that were floating in his pitching wrist, it has an entirely new sensation says the righty.
“You always project yourself to be where you want to be,” the Twins right-hander told David Dorsey of the Fort Myers News-Press. “I don’t know if I’m going to ever feel the same like I did before.”
The overall tone of the article was fairly pessimistic. KFAN’s Phil Mackey noted that Kevin Slowey is a “matter of fact” personality when providing quotes in the clubhouse. And his honest explanation of his recovery is probably typical of his character. It's possible that Slowey is trying to under-promise and over-deliver. Still, with the Twins putting a great deal of confidence in Slowey’s ability to rebound, you have to consider the subtext of this refreshing honesty.
In 2009, Slowey struggled to find anything particularly useful to compliment his precision-tuned fastball. As someone without glass-breaking velocity, Slowey was reliant on spotting his fastball, deception and changing speeds. Working off of his fastball, he mixed in a balance of sliders, changes and curveballs.
As noted in his Pitching Appraisal, Slowey improved his changeup in ‘09, inciting a heartier portion of misses:
With the exception of his fastball, which was stung around the field heavily, his biggest problem was his slider. While the pitch was an above-average offering in ’08, it was an increasingly more hittable pitch (at least in terms of contact). The ailing wrist probably led to the flattening out of the pitch – losing vertical drop and adding a sweeping motion:
Slowey’s statement suggesting that he doesn’t feel the same as before leaves room to wonder what the long-term effects of the surgery are. While he may be able to return, without his slider, he might not be the same pitcher. Monitoring his slider this spring will give a good inclination as to what direction he is heading towards in ’10.