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04/09/08 9:12 PM ET

Slowey's setback has lingering effect

Right-hander's status unknown, but he'll miss start on Sunday

CHICAGO -- Right-hander Kevin Slowey was unable to play catch on Wednesday due to lingering soreness in his right biceps muscle, and the setback means he will not be able to make his start on Sunday against the Royals.

Slowey had been scheduled to throw a bullpen on Thursday to see whether the strained right biceps muscle had healed enough for him to make the start. But based on how the pitcher felt on Wednesday, the team has pushed back the right-hander's entire schedule. And there is a strong possibility that he will be headed for a stint on the disabled list.

"The trainers decided to back off because [Slowey] still feels it," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It's still there. And we don't want to mess with that young man's arm."

A decision on who will get the start on Sunday has yet to be made, Gardenhire said. The skipper pointed to the strong chance of rain on Thursday for the club's series finale with the White Sox as the reason the team is choosing to wait on a DL move for Slowey.

If Thursday's contest is a rainout, the Twins could push back their starters a day, meaning that they would not need an additional starter until Tuesday.

The weather forecast for the rest of the trip does not look much better for the Twins. Rain is predicted for all three of their games in Kansas City this weekend, which could also affect the rotation schedule.

"Right now we're just going to wait and see what the weather does in the next few days," Gardenhire said.

Should the Twins be able to get in all their games, then Slowey would be placed on the 15-day DL, backdated to April 4. The leading candidate for Slowey's spot appears to be left-hander Francisco Liriano, despite his less-than-ideal start for Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday night. With rainy and blustery conditions at the game in Norfolk, Va., Liriano gave up three runs on five hits while walking three and striking out three.

The reports were that Liriano labored through his second Minor League start, throwing a total of 88 pitches over four innings, but they also said he was hampered by a few missed plays behind him.

Still, Gardenhire said he wouldn't hesitate to use Liriano if necessary.

"I'm not worried about him if I bring him up here and start him," Gardenhire said. "He was fine. Pitch-wise he's able to do it. ... Whether he's ready or not, well some people say he was not great, but we know Frankie too and when you put him at a higher level, he throws better. He'll throw better for us than he will for them."

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.