CLEARWATER, Fla. – If that was Mike Pelfrey's last start for a while, at least he's made his point: He's healthy and, he believes, ready to succeed.

The righthander hit 95 miles per hour with his fastball, mixed in an effective split-finger changeup and struck out two in a critical audition for the vacancy in the Twins' rotation. But he also gave up seven hits over 4⅔ innings, including a two-run homer to Cody Asche, and took the loss in the Phillies' 3-0 victory at Bright House Field.

Pelfrey, competing with Trevor May and Tommy Milone to become the fifth starter in manager Paul Molitor's rotation, is conceding nothing. In fact, by being completely healthy again after two injury-plagued seasons with the Twins, he feels like a winner already.

"I'm at peace," Pelfrey said. "I feel good, [and] when I feel good, I believe I can get hitters out."

Will he get the chance?

"I don't make those decisions," Pelfrey said. "Today was [just] OK, but I battled and we were able to get through it. We'll see what happens."

Even his manager doesn't know what happens now. Milone will start Thursday's game against the Red Sox, and May likely will pitch in relief. And then?

"We'll see where we're at," manager Paul Molitor said. "I haven't really discussed it [with his staff] yet," though Molitor expressed his preference to have most of his roster questions sorted out by next weekend. "It'll be challenging," Molitor said, but "I like my options."

Pelfrey admitted his results could have been better Monday, but he was having trouble throwing first-pitch strikes. Still, his velocity was encouraging, sitting at 94 mph most of the day, and he recorded at least two ground-ball outs in every inning but his last. His split-finger "was probably the best it's been in spring training. I threw it a lot, and I think it's going to be a good pitch."

Might it be a pitch a reliever can use?

"Obviously my preference is to start, but if they think somebody else is better, so be it," Pelfrey said. "It's all about routine. I'm not saying I can't do that, [but] I've never done it. We'll make an adjustment if we need to. At the end of the day, you're still pitching."

The Twins brought a skeleton crew north for the game, with only one projected starter in the lineup. The makeshift roster was shut down on five hits by Phillies pitching, with starter David Buchanan striking out three while allowing only two hits in five innings.