Getting batters out in the Midwest League doesn't translate into doing the same in the majors, but Mike Pelfrey did what he needed to on Monday night in Cedar Rapids. He threw 70 pitches. He gave up two hits (a home run and a triple). He said he was pain-free, recovered from the back spasms that put him on the disabled list and ready to pitch for the Twins this weekend against Toronto.
Jim Ecker of the Cedar Rapids-based website Metro Sports Report talked to Pelfrey after the start: "It felt good," Pelfrey told him. "The first time seeing hitters in 10 or 12 days, it was a little different, a little weird at first ... At the end of the day, I walked off feeling good."
The Kernels won 6-3 for their 11th straight victory. Mason Melotakis, who had been scheduled to start, pitched the final three innings to get the save. Melotakis was a Twins second-round draft choice in 2012 and has a 3.67 ERA in 73 2/3 innings for Cedar Rapids.
Ecker described what happens when a major league pitcher comes down to the low minors for a visit: "Before the game, Melotakis and several other Cedar Rapids pitchers watched Pelfrey warm up in the bullpen to see if they could learn a thing or two. 'Just see how he carries himself,' Melotakis explained. 'Kind of how he warms up, what his routine is. We're wanting to get (to the major leagues). I just wanted to see what he does, how he prepares himself for a start.' "
Pelfrey also talked to S.D. Buhr about his time with the Twins, and acknowledged that he may have rushed his return from last year's Tommy John surgery: " Obviously, I’ve come back and I came back really quick. I struggled the early part of the year. I can’t tell the future or anything like that. I don’t know if I would have come back in June and had the same kind of setbacks, you know?"
He also told Buhr: "If I would have known, if I could go back now and say April and May would have been like that, I probably would have waited, but I can’t change that. Who’s to say I wouldn’t have had those same things in June? But I feel good, which I think is the most important thing. I feel like I’m getting better."
You can read Ecker's full game report here.
You can read Buhr's q-and-a with Pelfrey here.