FORT MYERS, FLA. – Mike Pelfrey burned through half of his 60-pitch limit in a slow but scoreless first inning Friday night, then got some simple advice.
“I tried to be too cute, throwing sliders and curveballs and splits, and missing,” the righthander said. “But I talked to [pitching coach Rick Anderson] in the dugout, and he said, ‘Hey, what’s working?’ I said, ‘My sinker.’ ‘Well, let’s use that.’ ”
Pelfrey did, and by sticking to what he calls “my best pitch — there will be days when I’ll throw that thing 90 percent of the time” — blew through two easy innings. After giving up three runs in his debut, Pelfrey has pitched six scoreless innings, and sounds eager to increase his workload.
“I was supposed to throw four [innings] or 60 pitches, and I was right there,” said Pelfrey, whose 58-pitch outing included five strikeouts. “I told Andy, ‘Hey, I want to keep going.’ And he said, ‘Well, next time.’ So we’ll continue to build it up.”
Guerra returns from WBC
Deolis Guerra was back in camp Friday, his stint with Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic over before it started. Guerra was sent home with an injury, though the Twins aren’t entirely sure what it is.
Reports from the Venezuelan media said he had strained a pectoral muscle, but General Manager Terry Ryan said he was told Guerra was experiencing tightness closer to his shoulder “so I don’t know about that pectoral stuff.” The team’s medical staff planned to examine the righthander as soon as possible.
Fired up to play
Oswaldo Arcia was so excited about being cleared to play again, the outfielder took two sessions of batting practice Friday.
“I can use my bats!” the 21-year-old Venezuelan exclaimed after an early-afternoon working in Hammond Stadium. Arcia, who has yet to appear in a game this spring, said he felt no lingering soreness from the intercostal muscle he strained last month, and that must have been true, because he joined his teammates for the regularly scheduled session of batting practice two hours later.
Another outfielder, Darin Mastroianni, is completely recovered from his hamstring pull, and he’ll definitely play Saturday, Ryan said. “I’ve heard him say [that] if this was the regular season, he probably would have played much earlier than this,” Ryan said. “I suspect he’s probably right. Down here, we’re not going to do anything foolish.”
That’s the thinking with Chris Parmelee’s strained groin, too, an injury that the outfielder said was much improved Friday. He planned to take part in the Twins’ pregame workout, and return to action this weekend.
Anthony Swarzak’s return is further off, but he was happy Friday to be cleared to throw long-toss from 150 feet. If all goes well, the righthander said, he will pitch lightly off a mound by the end of next week. “That’s going to be another test — throwing off that slope, seeing if my side and my ribs can handle it,” said Swarzak, who broke two ribs while horsing around with teammates in January. “Right now, I have very high hopes.”
The Twins travel to Bradenton, Fla., on Saturday to face the Pirates. Cole De Vries, who hasn’t allowed a run this spring, makes his second start, against the Pirates’ A.J. Burnett.