FORT MYERS, Fla. – Trevor May had the look of a man who already knew his fate. Handed the opportunity to seize a job in the Twins’ starting rotation, May allowed four doubles, a triple and two home runs Friday, and probably did not do enough to sway the judges: manager Paul Molitor and General Manager Terry Ryan.
“Whatever feel I have [for his status] doesn’t really matter,” May said after the Twins lost a rain-shortened game to the Pirates 4-2, “because it’s not my decision.”
That decision will be revealed Saturday, Molitor said, and unless the Twins have a surprise in store, May figures to be a runner-up in the fifth-starter derby. Tommy Milone is the presumed winner of the job, even with the worst spring ERA of the three (4.50), with Mike Pelfrey — who, notably, is not scheduled to pitch Saturday, his normal rotation day — apparently headed to the bullpen.
“Obviously, we’re getting to the tail end of this,” Ryan said. “We’ve got to get guys in their spots.”
For May, that spot is likely Class AAA Rochester for a second straight season, at least for now. After recovering from the flu at the beginning of camp, he pitched 10⅔ total innings in three major league games this spring, and three more innings in a minor league game, and the promise he occasionally showed — such as four hitless innings against the Rays on Sunday — was undone by the rough outing against the Pirates.
The second batter of the game, Gregory Polanco, blasted an 0-2 fastball five rows deep in the right-field stands, and plenty of other Pirates followed suit; at least four other baseballs were bounced off Hammond Stadium’s outfield walls, and another, by Tony Sanchez, sailed over them. To be fair, the game was played in a strong, steady gale blowing toward right, one that carried what looked like a routine fly by Sanchez into the seats, but May refused to use that as an excuse.
“Ground balls don’t go over the fence,” May shrugged. “If I got a ground ball there, it might have been different.”
Molitor said he has appreciated May’s work this spring — “Overall, no complaints about that young man,” he said — but noted that “today wasn’t his best day.”
“He gave up some hard-hit balls. He got dinged up a little bit, probably let his fastball get a little too elevated,” Molitor said. “I think he got a little tired at the end. Before we took him out, he was missing way high.”
The game was a good one for Brian Dozier, who tripled home Danny Santana in the third inning, scored on a Joe Mauer ground ball, and made a diving catch to end the fourth inning and save another run from being charged to May. The pitcher met Dozier as he came off the field to thank him.
“I was excited,” May said. “I was trying to make a good pitch there. I felt I got the jam result I wanted. And for him to go make a play like that is huge. He’s one of the best, if not the best.”
The game was halted with two outs in the top of the eighth inning when storm clouds rolled in and rain began falling.
Within five minutes, it was a deluge, and the Pirates were declared the winner.