Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has scheduled a 10 a.m. press conference to disclose results of an early morning medical "touch" examination to determine whether bullpen pitcher Kevin Slowey has a hernia, a condition that likely will require surgery.
Slowey, a reliever who possibly would have been ticketed to be converted into a starter for the Triple A Rochester Redwings if he had been healthy, has been complaining of discomfort in his lower torso, which initially led his physicians to suspect he may have strained or torn his oblique or other lower rib muscles or groin.
A magnetic resonance imaging exam, however, clarified that was not the case, leaving a hernia as a probable cause of his complaints, though nothing is certain. Whatever it is, doctors so far have missed it, but will seek clarification with a simple visual inspection and "touch" examination.
Hernias, especially in the pelvis area, can be subtle to detect, but likely will be more apparent once doctors focus on the question, having narrowed down the possibilities.
Many people with hernias lead relatively normal lives, as long as they avoid serious exertions that would aggravate the condition. But baseball and other sports activities pose significant risk of worsening the problem.
The condition occurs when a weakness or hole in the outer abdominal wall -- perhaps as large as a 50-cent piece but probably much smaller -- allows fat or organic tissue to be pressured into or through the hole, causing discomfort, outright pain or even organ malfunctions.
The cure requires relatively simple surgery, so a relatively quick return to play, after a month or so of rehabilitation, would be reasonable. His sidelining would make it difficult, but not impossible, for the Twins to consummate a trade for Slowey, which evidently is being discussed behind closed doors.