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Slowey’s Strong Start Leads Twins Past Marlins 9-0

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(credit: Hannah Foslien /Getty Images)

(credit: Hannah Foslien /Getty Images)

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FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Kevin Slowey is making a strong push for a spot in Minnesota’s rotation.

The right-hander insists he’ll be all right with whatever role the Twins decide for him.

Slowey kept pace in his bid to be Minnesota’s fifth starter, throwing four shutout innings in a 9-0 victory Monday over the Florida Marlins.

Slowey, competing with fellow right-hander Scott Baker for the final slot in the rotation, struck out three and gave up two hits.

“Slowey was really good, wrapping it around the zone, in and out,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who indicated he might wait until the end of camp to choose between Slowey and Baker.

“We’ll decide on who we think will be able to handle the bullpen role better than the other,” Gardenhire said.

Slowey went 13-6 with a 4.45 ERA last season as a starter. He was 10-3 with a 4.86 ERA in 2009.

“The people in this organization know what it takes to win,” Slowey said. “Whatever they decide, we’ll be fine with it. It’s not even worth sweating. I think you can ask anybody in this clubhouse: We’ll do whatever it takes to help this team win. You see a guy like Jim Thome, a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He doesn’t get 300 at-bats last year, and he’s not complaining one bit. He’s talking about how excited he is to be a part of a championship team. I think if a guy like that can be satisfied, certainly I can do the same.”

Gardenhire described the rotation situation as a conundrum other managers would like to have. Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano, Brian Duensing and Nick Blackburn have already been assured spots.

“We’re fortunate to have six guys who are all very capable starters in the big leagues,” Gardenhire said. “All deserve to be starters in the big leagues, but we just can’t start the season like that. We’re very fortunate to have that. I think every manager in the game will tell you that you will need that at one time or another. We believe we can count on both of them.”

Matt Dominguez went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. His 10 RBIs this spring lead the Marlins, who lost their seventh straight game. Manager Edwin Rodriguez said if the season began today, Dominguez would be the starting third baseman. The 21-year-old was Florida’s first-round draft pick in 2007. He hasn’t yet played above Double-A.

Alex Sanabia started for the Marlins, giving up three hits and one run in one inning. Left-hander Brad Hand, a native of Chaska, Minn., playing in front of plenty of people from his home state, pitched three innings in relief, giving up four hits and two runs. Hand was a second-round draft pick by the Marlins in 2008.

“We’re not pitching, we’re not hitting and we’re not catching the ball,” Rodriguez said. “That’s not a good combination.”

NOTES: Gardenhire said C Joe Mauer might see his first Grapefruit League action Wednesday following Tuesday’s day off. Mauer has not played yet following offseason surgery on his left knee. “It’s a good chance,” Gardenhire said. “It’s not guaranteed. But after the day off, we’ll come in, and it’s a possibility. He’s feeling great.” … Blackburn threw three scoreless innings in relief against a Marlins team that left most of its regulars at home. Blackburn gave up two hits, walked one and struck out one. … Danny Valencia and Luke Hughes homered for Minnesota, and Jason Kubel went 2 for 3 with an RBI to boost his spring average to .448.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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