Kevin Slowey’s first catcher could be his next manager.
Mike Redmond was behind the plate when Slowey made his major-league debut in 2007 for the Minnesota Twins.
“It’s not as weird as it might seem because, you know what, he coached me from the first day,” Slowey said.
Slowey, a 28-year-old control artist who reeled off three consecutive seasons of double-digit wins for the Twins from 2008 to 2010, is trying to make a comeback with the Marlins.
Slowey hasn’t won in the majors since 2010.
“I feel like every baseball player in this clubhouse could tell you injuries he’s had,” Slowey said. “But certainly it’s been a challenge to have my career path sort of veer off to the side because of injuries.”
Slowey was a mainstay in the Minnesota rotation before things went south for him. He went 12-11 in 2008, 10-3 in 2009 and 13-6 in 2010.
Redmond was behind the plate for many of Slowey’s starts, including his very first one on June 1, 2007, in Oakland.
“I remember my first game, going out to the bullpen to warm up,” Slowey said, “and he was like, ‘All right, kid. Let’s go get ’em.’ As the game went along, he did a wonderful job realizing what I needed. Not only did he know the other lineup, not only did he know that stadium, he knew me well enough to know what I needed at what point in the game.”
Slowey held the A’s to only one run over six innings but failed to receive a decision.
“When I had him with Minnesota, he was good for us,” Redmond said. “He ate up a lot of innings and kept us in a lot of ballgames. He’s a strike-thrower. He’s a guy who pounded the strike zone and lived on the corners. He’s not a guy who’s going to overpower you, but he competes.”
Redmond was gone from Minnesota in 2010, when, in one of his final starts of the season, Slowey turned in perhaps his finest performance. He pitched seven no-hit innings before being lifted because of concerns about his elbow.
But Slowey tore an abdominal muscle in 2011 — his final season with the Twins — and went 0-8 while making only eight starts. A fractured rib prevented him from pitching at all in the majors last season.
“I’m certainly thankful that none of the injuries was arm-related,” he said.
Knowing he had to erase concerns about his health in order to attract interest, Slowey played winter ball in the Dominican Republic, making three starts without issue. Soon after, he contacted the Marlins — and their new manager.
Redmond, despite being a former teammate, made no promises.
“He’s never been one to sugarcoat anything,” Slowey said. “He said, ‘You’re coming in and you’re going to compete for a job. That’s how it was for me every year and that’s how it’s going to ,be for you.’ ”
If Slowey returns to form, Redmond said he could be a valuable addition.
“He’s been banged up the last couple of years,” Redmond said. “But he’s the kind of guy that, if he emerges this spring, could be a big help for us, either in that rotation, or possibly in the bullpen.”
On what was only his second day with the Marlins, first baseman Casey Kotchman cut his finger during an infield pop-up drill Monday. Kotchman required four stitches after cutting his left ring finger while catching a pop near home plate and grabbing the machine.
“Bad luck,” Redmond said. “It was crazy. I heard him call it and I was like, ‘No way he’s gonna get to that ball.’ And he caught it. He made a great play. He just couldn’t stop. It’s unfortunate. We’re hoping it’s not an extensive thing.”• Placido Polanco missed practice Monday in order to undergo a root canal.
• Redmond has tabbed John Maine to start the Marlins’ Grapefruit League opener Saturday against the Cardinals.
Maine will go two innings. Others scheduled to pitch Saturday: Tom Koehler, Brad Hand, Steve Cishek, Chad Qualls, Mike Dunn, Dan Jennings and Michael Wuertz.