Their season dangling in the balance with Monday's devastating news that starter Kevin Slowey will miss the rest of the season because of wrist surgery, the Minnesota Twins have expanded their trade talks to focus on starting pitchers.
Already searching for a middle infielder -- negotiations with Oakland regarding shortstop Orlando Cabrera have intensified in the past 24 hours, sources say -- and a set-up man, the Twins now are shifting gears again as they struggle to keep pace with Detroit and the Chicago White Sox in the American League Central.
Slowey's 10 wins lead the rotation even though he hasn't pitched in three weeks. Among those the Twins are expected to inquire about -- or have inquired about -- are Seattle's Jarrod Washburn and Arizona's Jon Garland and Doug Davis.
Meantime, the Twins, after nixing a couple of mid-level prospects the A's have asked for in exchange for Cabrera, have provided the Athletics with a list of young players they would trade for the shortstop. Though Cabrera got off to a very slow start offensively for Oakland, he has batted .339 since June 4.
Rookie pitcher Anthony Swarzak has been a huge help lately as Nick Blackburn, Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano and Glen Perkins have struggled to reach the seventh inning in recent starts. But with the subtraction of Slowey, the Twins clearly are in a bind.
The Twins had fallen to four games behind division-leading Detroit entering Monday night's games and clearly are frustrated.
Following a tough weekend against the Angels in Anaheim, the three Twins' franchise players -- Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer and Joe Nathan -- told LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that it's time to make a move.
"Yeah, there's frustration," Mauer told the newspaper. "But I've learned over the last few years not to try to get my hopes up that we'll have something, then get disappointed."
"It's frustrating, very frustrating," Morneau said. "You hear about the future, the future. I don't know who gets to decide when that is or when they think that is. You have a core of a lineup that can compete with anyone in the league. One of the best closers in the game. Young starting pitching that might be missing one veteran guy to show them the way.
"It makes a difference to have someone like that."