Twins' Worley still struggling as spring starts dwindle

The Twins righthander, one of the contenders to pitch Opening Day, has an ERA of 6.35 and has given up 14 earned runs in the past 18⅓ innings.


– Righthander Vance Worley has run out of clock if he’s trying to peak at the right time.

After faltering Friday against the Yankees, Worley is left with one more outing to try to leave town on a good note before the regular season begins. Only one more start.

Worley gave up four earned runs on eight hits while striking out two over five innings. His ERA is 6.35 — which is troubling for a team that expects Worley to help stabilize the rotation this season.

“Early on, just a little up in the zone,” he said. “The last couple of innings, started working down and getting more ground balls. And they weren’t tagging it as much.”

At least he was able to make adjustments.

“It’s a great sign,” he said. “I just did it too late. By then, we’re behind.”

Worley, one of two pitchers the Twins received from Philadelphia in exchange for center fielder Ben Revere, has given up 14 earned runs over his past 18⅓ innings.

His shaky start put the Twins on their way to a 9-7 loss to the Yankees. Justin Morneau, Ryan Doumit and Dan Rohlfing homered for the Twins. Doumit was 2-for-2 with three runs scored. Wilkin Ramirez was 3-for-3.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, taking notes during the game, wrote: ‘Worley, lots of balls up. Not many breakers early. Slow pace,’ among other things.

“It seemed like he was really searching for something out there,” Gardenhire said.

Worley’s next start is scheduled for Wednesday against the Rays, but things could change. Samuel Deduno was scheduled to start Sunday but has been pulled. Righthander P.J. Walters will start instead.

There are many decisions left to make in camp, including who will be the Opening Day starter. Gardenhire has announced those starters as early as TwinsFest when he had Brad Radke and Johan Santana around. This year is different, and it looks as if the Twins will wait until next week to announce their choice.

Worley and righthander Mike Pelfrey are the logical choices, and Worley is already set up to have his turn to pitch fall on April 1 against Detroit at Target Field. His outing Friday might have given the coaching staff a reason to think twice.

“I would like to see him string together some good innings before we take off for this 162 games,” Gardenhire said.

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