Pelfrey told reporters he was frustrated because he doesn't believe he was outpitched this spring. The 6-foot-5 right-hander registered a 1.32 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP and a 7:2 K:BB ratio over 13 2/3 innings of work in Grapefruit League play.
He lost the spot to Tommy Milone, who posted a 4.50 ERA, a 1.36 WHIP and an 8:4 K:BB ratio over 14 innings.
Pelfrey revealed that he confronted the coaching staff and asked if the competition for the fifth rotation spot was actually open and was told him "yes," though he disagrees. According to the Pioneer Press, Pelfrey said he has not been given an indication that a trade is in the works and added that he would not approve an option to Triple-A.
"That won't happen," Pelfrey said.
“We are in progress on making that decision,” Molitor said.
In his last start on Monday against the Phillies, Pelfrey allowed one earned run on seven hits and two walks, while striking out two in 4 2/3 innings.
Overall this spring Pelfrey has allowed two earned runs in 13 2/3 innings for a 1.32 ERA.
Pelfrey (0-2) gave up six singles and a two-run homer to Cody Asche. He has a 1.32 ERA through 13 2/3 innings.
“I’m at peace,” Pelfrey said of his spring performance, per the Pioneer Press. “I feel good. I’m healthy. I just want to pitch.”
While Pelfrey's numbers look good, it doesn't appear he has done enough to win the final spot in the rotation. It appears Tommy Milone and Trevor May remain the favorites to win the job.
“He battled. I have to give him that,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “I don’t think his command was great. Threw a lot of split-fingers today, which he’s gaining confidence in. Some looked very effective and there were a couple that were kind of noncompetitive. It’s a work in progress.
“We’ll determine what (Pelfrey is) going to do next here in the short term. May’s pitched well. Milone’s pitched fairly well. And we know Mike’s done a a good job of coming back. It will be challenging, but I like my options.”
"We hope it's tough because people are performing well," Molitor said. "Mike has had a good spring to this point and is scheduled to pitch again in Clearwater, Fla., [against Philadelphia] on the 23rd. And Milone has looked good and we'll see him [Saturday]. Meyer is a little behind on pitch count but has been fine, and May seems like he has a little more mound presence so far than he did last year. That's probably what that experience did to him."
Pelfrey and Milone remain the top two candidates for the job, with Meyer and May having options remaining that can allow them to open the season at Triple-A. Pelfrey was impressive in a split-squad start Wednesday.
"Mostly, his fastball is getting the groundballs he needs, but he's using his split-finger more and gaining confidence with that pitch, and mixing in his curveball, which he hasn't done for a while," Molitor said. "His pace was pretty good, and we're always looking for those little things like pace and holding runners, and he knows that's important."
“He’s kind of added pitches, if you will,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said, referring to Pelfrey’s rarely used curveball and split-change, per the Pioneer Press. “Velocity seems to be doing OK, too. He had a good day, I’d have to say. It’s still a battle.”
After throwing 50 pitches Wednesday, Pelfrey threw another 12-15 pitches in the bullpen.
“That’s a relatively good sign,” Molitor said. “Physically, he feels good. He’s still working on not throwing so many balls and having longer counts.”
Pelfrey has a 1.00 ERA through nine spring innings. He hasn't issued a walk and has struck out five batters.
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