DUNEDIN, FLA. - Mike Pelfrey was happy with the pitching part. But the exit definitely needs work.
Pelfrey threw 32 pitches in his first action since Tommy John surgery 10 months ago, and while several of them were hit hard -- one of them out of the park, in fact -- the righthander counted the day as a big step forward. Except for a mixup on the mound. "I didn't know what to do," Pelfrey said. "... I didn't want to disrespect anybody."
When manager Ron Gardenhire walked to the mound to remove him after 10 hitters -- five of whom got hits -- the 6-foot-7 pitcher hesitated. "When I was with the Mets, we always waited for the reliever, and handed him the ball," Pelfrey said and laughed. "I said, 'Do you want the ball?' He said, 'You're bigger than me, you let me know.' "
Pelfrey used all four of his pitches, he said, and kept everything close to the strike zone. He allowed five hits and three runs but didn't walk a batter. His fastball was mostly 86-88 mph but should gradually increase to the mid-90s by the beginning of the season, he said.
"I threw a lot of strikes. I don't know if I can say I threw a lot of quality strikes," Pelfrey said, especially the curveball he hung to Adam Lind that was hit out of Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. "I walked off feeling good."
Hicks is patient
Aaron Hicks has impressed Gardenhire, the manager said, with his patience at the plate. On Tuesday, he took several pitches during each of his at-bats, waiting for a strike.
When he sees one he likes, though, he has an exceptionally quick bat. His double off the right-field wall, Hicks said, came on a pitch he wasn't ready for.
"I was messing around with my bat, and the guy [Esmil Rogers] went into the windup and threw the ball," the switch-hitter said. "And I just hit it."
He hit it about 375 feet into right-center, missing a home run by 6 feet or so.
Plouffe feeling good
Trevor Plouffe didn't get to field a ball, and he was given a don't-steal sign when he was on base. So it wasn't the most active return to action, after a week of waiting out a calf injury, that the Twins third baseman could have asked for.
But it was still a game, and that's progress, he said. "I feel good. Everything was full-go, just like we expected," Plouffe said after collecting a walk and an RBI single in three plate appearances Tuesday. "I'm happy we waited."
Rosario booms one
Second-base prospect Eddie Rosario took advantage of his chance to play with the major league team -- a Class A player, he's only working out with the Twins because he will play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, and will miss the first week of minor league camp -- by blasting a home run over the right-field wall.