Minnesota Twins pitcher Mike Pelfrey had another pain-free, effective outing Sunday during Spring Training. The right-handed starter is coming off Tommy John surgery in 2012. Pelfrey went three innings with no runs and one hit in the exhibition game against the Rays. His control was present on Sunday as he pitched an efficient three innings on 39 pitches, throwing 24 for strikes.
Pelfrey appears to be ahead of schedule on his rehab process. Assuming he stays on pace, he would be ready to go come Opening Day. Most pitchers take 12-18 months to recover from the common ligament surgery and usually aren’t fully recovered for two years. Pelfrey is only 10 months removed from his May 1 surgery.
Although he feels good, Twins’ Manager Ron Gardenhire will be careful building up the former New York Mets starter’s workload.
The last thing the Twins need is another pitcher with a nagging injury. They are already waiting for projected Opening Day started Scott Diamond to recover from a procedure that removed a bone chip from his pitching elbow and have several other pitchers battling injuries.
Pelfrey is a key contender for a back-end spot in the Twins’ Rotation. Gardenhire is already searching for arms to round out his rotation. As of now, only Diamond, Vance Worley, and Kevin Correia have been given spots.
After coming off a shaky season in which their pitching staff boasted the second-worst ERA in the league, the Twins would welcome an established veteran like Pelfrey into the rotation. Twins fans should keep their eye on Pelfrey’s starts this spring training.
If he has a few more like he did Sunday, you can pencil him into the Twins’ starting five.