It’s hard to tell whether it’s a competition or not, whether there is a job at stake or not. But if there is, Wednesday was a good day for Aaron Thompson.
The Twins’ seven-man bullpen will have two lefthanders for sure in Brian Duensing and closer Glen Perkins. But it’s possible, manager Paul Molitor said, that there might be a spot for another lefthander — either incumbent Caleb Thielbar or Thompson, a 28-year-old journeyman.
“It’s feasible that one of those two lefties could get in there,” Molitor said. “They’re still competing right now, no doubt.”
Both pitched against the Rays on Wednesday, though Molitor said that was a coincidence, not a purposeful showdown. Still, Thielbar’s rough outing was clearly juxtaposed with a 1-2-3 inning by Thompson.
“A little problem there in the ninth,” Molitor said of Thielbar, who surrendered three hits and a walk, allowed the winning run, took the loss and increased his spring ERA to 4.50. Thompson’s quick outing in the eighth, on three ground-ball outs, cut his ERA to 2.45.
The Twins turned a profit of $21.3 million in 2014, Forbes magazine asserts in its latest issue, and the franchise’s value jumped an astonishing 48 percent over last year, to $895 million, by the magazine’s estimation.
Forbes’ annual franchise valuation issue ranked the Twins the 18th most valuable organization in Major League Baseball, up from 19th last year, but noted the team is benefiting from the extraordinary growth in television revenues that have caused franchise values to soar in the past decade. The Twins’ revenues reached $233 million last year, the magazine estimated.
Still, the Twins’ worth is less than the MLB average of $1.2 billion, and less than a third that of the New York Yankees, which leads the sport at a valuation of $3.2 billion, Forbes said.
• Molitor said he remains open-minded about the most visible roster competition — the final spot in the starting rotation — and he dropped a hint that it might now be a two-man race. “We are in the process of making a decision,” Molitor said, about whether Mike Pelfrey, who gave up seven hits and two runs over 4⅔ innings against the Phillies on Monday, will make another start this weekend. That’s notable because Tommy Milone and Trevor May will start the next two games, in what might amount to a head-to-head duel for the job.
• Catcher Josmil Pinto swung a bat, played catch and ran Wednesday without incident, and the Twins are hopeful his concussionlike symptoms are gone for good. If they don’t return, General Manager Terry Ryan said, Pinto could return to game action later this week.
• B.J. Hermsen, once a top Twins pitching prospect but who has never climbed above Class AA, will undergo elbow surgery and will miss the 2015 season, a Twins official said Wednesday.
• Duensing was left with a “massive” bruise on his left quad after being struck by Devon Travis’ line drive Tuesday and must wear a large bandage over it for three days or so.
Milone’s starting job might be on the line when he faces the Red Sox at JetBlue Stadium. He’ll face LHP Wade Miley.