Can Minnesota Twins Fans Pencil Mike Pelfrey into the Starting Rotation?

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

So far so good for Mike Pelfrey, one of the Minnesota Twins newest acquisitions. The right-hander, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, threw 38 pitches off a mound for the first time on Monday. The 29 year-old Ohio native had surgery on May 1 of 2012.

This is good news for the Twins, who have plenty of question marks on their pitching depth chart. Practically every pitcher for the Twins is injured right now–not a great way to start spring training. The fact that Pelfrey is ahead of schedule in his rehab is the first bit of good news coming from Twins’ camp this spring.

Pelfrey, who had spent his entire career prior to 2013 with the New York Mets, is enjoying the change of scenery. “I forgot how much fun that was,” said the righty who also commented on how well the ball was coming out of his hand. “I’m going to be ready. So I have no doubt in my mind that Opening Day, I’ll be on the team.”

Pelfrey has had mixed success over his seven-year career. He owns a 50-54 career record and 4.36 career ERA playing for the lowly Mets. His best season came in 2010 when he threw 204 innings and posted a 3.66 ERA on his way to a 15-9 record. The groundball pitcher is only 29 and, when healthy, has been a solid back-end starter.

If things are going as well as Pelfrey insists they are, Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire will have one less tough decision to make before opening day. It’s assumed that newly acquired Vance Worley and Kevin Correia will be in the starting rotation, along with Scott Diamond, one of the few bright spots during a dismal 2012 for the Twins. Had he not injured his elbow, Diamond would have surely started opening day. If Pelfrey can lock down a spot, Gardenhire only needs to find one more starter to round out his rotation.

Although the Twins’ staff is full of uncertainty, a healthy Pelfrey could go a long way. We’ll be sure to keep an eye on his rehab as spring training 2013 gets underway.

Follow Max on Twitter @maxoselim

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