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The Bleacher Bums: September 24, 2007 Archive

Slowey on his Fast Rise to the Big Leagues

Posted at 8:11 PM on September 24, 2007 by David Zingler

Rookie righty Kevin Slowey has been drawing Brad Radke comparisons since spring training. Their similarities however, end on the mound. The chatty Slowey would talk circles around the reserved Radke.

I caught up with top prospect during the last homestand:

ME: I imagine this has been a memorable year in your life, talk about that.

SLOWEY: It’s definitely been a great year for me. Having a chance to start in Rochester – play with a great team there – and getting a chance to fulfill a childhood dream by pitching in a major league game for the first time was pretty amazing. Going back down was something that was disappointing, but – at the same time – it was really something that I needed. It gave me the chance to work on a lot of things and not worry so much about how the game turned out, but to worry more about really executing and growing as a pitcher.

ME: You won the International League's “Pitcher of the Year” award, what was that honor like?

SLOWEY: It was definitely an honor. There were plenty of great pitchers out there – it’s a great pitcher’s league and has been for the past four or five years. There were some great pitchers on my team that probably could have won the award themselves if they hadn’t been called up early. Scott Baker was throwing great down there and then got called up, Matt Garza was throwing great down there and Glenn Perkins was there a week, had a great start and has been up ever since. It’s an honor, especially in a league like that where there were a lot of great pitchers.

ME: Does having a lot of your minor league teammates up here make the transition easier?

SLOWEY: Yeah. You get a chance to see guys that you had played with before in the minor leagues – get a chance to talk to them a little bit. You get an idea about what to look forward to, things to do and things to avoid. It’s nice to have guys around that you came up with.

ME: What is the biggest difference between major league and Triple A hitters?

SLOWEY: The hitters here are the best hitters in the world. That’s why there here. Hitters who do make the major leagues usually stick around for a while because they know how to make adjustments and know how different pitchers try to pitch them. So here, it’s about consistency as a pitcher and to make as few mistakes as possible. And when you do make mistakes, make mistakes in the dirt. Here I just feel like the margin for error is a little smaller.

ME: Was it weird being undefeated (3-0) and still being sent back down?

SLOWEY: No, not really – there were plenty of good reasons for me to be sent back down. There were a lot of things for me to work on. Your record is one thing, but being able to go out there and be consistent and give your team a chance to win (is more important). Those wins that I had – a lot of them – we put up 5, 6 or 7 runs. It was certainly a learning experience for me and humbling at the same time. I can already look back and say it was a good thing.

ME: Like you said, luck can play a big part in getting wins, what is the most important statistic to you?

SLOWEY: The most important thing is that we shouldn’t pay attention to our stats. What we need to do is listen to our coaches and do what they tell us to do. They know what it takes for us to do well. Whether we go out there and get a win or loss of give up a run or don’t give up a run – I don’t think that’s quite as important as going out there every time and giving us a solid chance to win.

ME: People like to compare you to Brad Radke, have you had a chance to meet him?

SLOWEY: I have. I met Brad here, he was here one of the games I threw earlier in the year. He was in the clubhouse and came over and said “hello” and said “good luck on the season.” From what I’ve heard, he is kind of a quiet guy – it was something for him to go out of his way and say “hey” to me. He is so well liked here in the Minnesota area – has done more off-the-field than he has on-the-field for the people of Minnesota and they just love him here.

ME: Did you know that he also wore #59 his rookie year (1995)?

SLOWEY: I didn’t know that until someone told me (earlier in the season).

ME: What are your off-season plans?

SLOWEY: In the off-season I will be living in Atlanta. My older brother is a lawyer there, he just graduated this past year from Duke Law School and he works in Atlanta. I will be living with him and working out down there – just kind of relaxing and getting ready for next season.

ME: You get a chance to play with Johan Santana, what have you been able to learn from him?

SLOWEY: The best thing you can do with a guy like that is just to watch him. Not necessarily watch him on game day and try to throw a change-up like he does and strike out 17 guys. That’s not possible – he’s been blessed with incredible ability. At the same time, if you watch what he does on the days he doesn’t pitch. He’s always the first guy in the clubhouse – if you get here and think you’re here early, he’s already been here and run and lifted and everything else. He does stuff that nobody sees...His work ethic day in and day out is something that we can all strive for.

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