La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Twins officially sign free agent righthander Mike Pelfrey

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: December 20, 2012 - 9:09 AM

The Twins have (finally) announced the signing of righthander Mike Pelfrey to a one-year, $4 million contract after the player passed a physical on Wednesday.

Pelfrey joins the Twins after spending most of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery on his elbow. The surgery took place May 1, and there's an outside chance that he could be ready to contribute during the first month of the season. The bet here is that the Twins go the safe route with him and ease him back into full duty.

Several teams expressed interest in Pelfrey, but indications are that the choice came down to the Twins and Kansas City. Pelfrey is from Wichita and pitched for Wichita State, making Kansas City an attractive option.

In addition to the $4 million, Pelfrey can receive another $1.5 million through incentives.

Pelfrey, 29, will be one of three new faces in a vastly altered Twins rotation. The Twins signed veteran righthander Kevin Correia last week and traded for righthander Vance Worley two weeks ago. Lefthander Scott Diamond, who went 12-9 with a 3.54 ERA last season, will be the only sure thing returning from 2012. Rookie righthander Kyle Gibson could factor too, but his innings will be monitored as he comes back from Tommy John surgery in 2011.

Pelfrey is a former first round pick by the Mets who is 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, 4.74 in 2011 and made three starts last season before going down with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament.

And the Twins might not be done adding pitchers. According to a source, they remain in the hunt for lefthander Joe Saunders - although adding him would round out what might be the greatest ground ball-inducing staff since the dead ball era.

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