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Mike Pelfrey said earlier in the offseason that he is expecting a regular spring training. He made only three starts last year before being shut down for the season.

Kathy Willens, Associated Press

Newest Twins pitcher Pelfrey intends to be ready

  • Article by: La VELLE E. NEAL III
  • Star Tribune
  • December 18, 2012 - 12:20 PM

The Twins entered the offseason looking to remodel their starting rotation and are close to making that happen with their latest addition, righthander Mike Pelfrey.

Pelfrey, 28, has agreed to a one-year contract, according to a person familiar with negotiations. It will become official as soon as he passes a physical this week and signs the deal. Twins General Manager Terry Ryan would not comment on their status with Pelfrey on Tuesday.

According to reports, Pelfrey will receive $4 million in 2013 plus another $1.5 million can be earned in incentives.

Pelfrey is a former 15-game winner, but is coming off of Tommy John surgery on May 1 -- performed by noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews -- and might not be ready for the rotation by Opening Day.

The Twins historically steer clear of pitchers who might be injury risks (except last spring with Joel Zumaya, who injured his elbow in his first bullpen session and was released in late March), so they must feel confident about Pelfrey's rehab. He said earlier in the offseason that he's planning on a regular spring training.

Pelfrey is a former first-round pick by the Mets who went 50-54 in seven seasons. His best year came in 2010 when he went 15-9 with a 3.66 ERA.

He slumped to 7-13 with a 4.74 ERA in 2011 and made three starts last season before going down because of a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament.

Pelfrey will be one of three new faces in a vastly altered rotation. The Twins signed veteran righthander Kevin Correia last week and traded for righthander Vance Worley two weeks ago.

Not everyone will agree on the color of the paint or the amount of drywall used in this remodeling project, but the Twins will have added pitchers who have combined to throw 2,230 major league innings.

The three have to prove they can come over from the National League and boost the Twins' rotation.

Lefthander Scott Diamond, who went 12-9 with a 3.54 ERA last season, is only sure thing returning from 2012. Rookie righthander Kyle Gibson could be a factor, too, but his innings will be monitored as he comes back from Tommy John surgery in 2011.

Worley still is developing as a pitcher. Correia has been fairly reliable over the past four seasons.

In signing Correia and Pelfrey for a total $8.5 million next season, the Twins have about $71 million committed to 10 players for next season.

With Pelfrey, Diamond, Worley and Correia on board, there will be plenty of competition for the fifth spot in the rotation -- as well as who will be high in the pecking order when the Twins need rotation help during the season.

Liam Hendriks, Cole De Vries, Samuel Deduno and P.J. Walters will be among those returning who made starts for the Twins last season. Brian Duensing and Anthony Swarzak will report to camp as starters, giving the Twins more options.

And the Twins appear to be open to adding another pitcher.

"If someone is out there that we like, we have to consider it," Ryan said. "We continue to talk to quite a few guys, and we have been connected to quite a few who have been out there.

"As you know, if there has been anyone out there who has been a starter, we have talked about him."

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