NEW YORK – Twins righthander Mike Pelfrey, working on his game at Class AAA Rochester, has an ulnar nerve problem in his elbow that could lead to minor surgery.
Pelfrey apparently experienced some discomfort because of the nerve in spring training but did not inform the Twins of it.
Pelfrey will likely head to Birmingham, Ala., in the next few days to visit Dr. James Andrews, who performed Tommy John surgery on Pelfrey in 2012. Pelfrey also had ulnar nerve transposition surgery then.
The Twins hope that medication is all Pelfrey needs. But it could be determined during the visit with Andrews that he’ll have surgery right then and there on the nerve, which is causing tingling in Pelfrey’s fingers.
A visit to Andrews was expected, said Rob Antony, Twins assistant general manager, because Andrews is familiar with Pelfrey’s case.
“They said it is not abnormal and they said it’s also not a major thing,’’ Antony said. “They are hoping to treat it with anti-inflammatories.’’
Pelfrey was 0-3 with a 7.99 ERA before landing on the disabled list because of a sore groin muscle. He was 1-0 with a 0.90 ERA in two rehabilitation starts at Class AAA Rochester before coming down with a sore shoulder.
An MRI on the shoulder this week showed no structural damage, but Twins doctors also checked his elbow and discovered the nerve problem. Pelfrey’s dip in velocity could be linked to the elbow problem.
“Hopefully we have gotten to the bottom of this,’’ Antony said.
Hicks not in lineup
Aaron Hicks might want to just hit the reset button on Sunday when June begins.
He work ethic was questioned earlier this month. Then he decided to give up switch hitting. Now he’s sidelined by a sore back.
Hicks took early batting practice Friday and did some outfield work. He said he felt fine.
“I’m ready to start playing games again,’’ Hicks said.
But he asked during batting practice not to face any breaking balls, which had manager Ron Gardenhire a little baffled.
“He said his back is fine. He just didn’t want to see any breaking balls,’’ Gardenhire said. “I called the Yankees and they said they are going to throw some, so I can’t play him.’’
Hicks ended up in the game, however, when Danny Santana stole third base in the third inning. Santana’s helmet fell off his head, hit the ground and whacked him in the face, drawing blood.
Fuld makes progress
For a second straight day, outfielder Sam Fuld worked out at Target Field showing no signs of the concussion that landed him on the disabled list earlier in the month. Fuld even hit off a tee.
Fuld could replace Hicks on the roster if he’s over the concussion issues. He likely will have to work out for several days — with no return of symptoms — before even heading out on a minor league rehabilitation assignment.
Ryan on road
Twins General Manager Terry Ryan, on the comeback trail after surgery and radiation to remove cancerous cells from his neck, is scouting Class A Cedar Rapids this weekend. It’s his first outing since undergoing surgery in February.
• Reliever Mark Hamburger has been assigned to Class AA New Britain after serving a 50-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.