Pelfrey will take Santana’s spot

 

Righthander Mike Pelfrey will replace Ervin Santana in the rotation, Twins manager Paul Molitor announced. A week ago, Pelfrey was upset about being demoted to the bullpen, but now he gets another chance.

“We’re fortunate we had a little depth and we had some competition for the bottom side of the rotation because it’s kept Mike fairly close to being ready,” Molitor said.

Pelfrey has a 1.15 ERA in six spring training outings. He’s added a changeup to his mix, which has helped.

Pelfrey will be the Twins’ No. 5 starter. Righthander Ricky Nolasco moves up to the No. 2 spot that Santana previously had, and will be followed by righthander Kyle Gibson, lefty Tommy Milone and Pelfrey.

Pelfrey was scheduled to pitch two innings Friday against Boston but will now pitch Sunday in the minor league game to get his pitch count up. Milone will also stay back and pitch in a minor league game.

To replace Santana on the roster, the Twins recalled Aaron Thompson, who had a 2.16 ERA in seven outings.

“He was one of our last cuts,” General Manager Terry Ryan said. “He’s lefthanded, which fits nicely if you are going to go down this path. ”

Roster watch

As teams finalize their rosters for Opening Day, some players will be released, elect free agency or become available on waivers.

The Twins have kept an eye out for relievers.

“I’ve been watching, just like anybody would,” Ryan said. “That’s my job, and I should watch. You always have a chance to come onto something that makes more sense for you, the way the roster is set up.

“We’ll continue to watch. The rosters aren’t due until Sunday. There are players who are going to get squeezed, whether it’s because of lack of options or whatever. A lot of players through the years that have been claimed who were out of options have ended up being pretty good in the long haul.”

Veteran Rafael Soriano remains a free agent, but the Twins appear to have no interest in him, And there are no indications they will take a look at Jose Valverde.

Bernier still here

Doug Bernier is 34 years old, with 42 games in the bigs. And he’s still fighting for his chance to stick on a major league roster.

But his fate was sealed days ago when Molitor informed him that he wasn’t heading north with the team. But Molitor wanted Bernier to remain in camp as a reward for how he has carried himself during spring training.

“Doug has been here, kind of as a guy who I enjoy having here,” Molitor said, “He’s someone who has gotten an opportunity to play some for us.”

Bernier, who can play second, third and short, batted .280 in 124 games with Class AAA Rochester last season. He was called up in September, playing in seven games. He smiled when told of Molitor’s remarks about him.

“The things I can control, I work as hard as I can on them,” Bernier said. “I was very happy. I got the opportunity to play.”

On deck

The Twins play their 32nd, and final, spring training game of 2015 when they play host to Boston at Hammond Stadium. Gibson makes his return after missing his last start because of the flu. Righthander Justin Masterson will start for the Red Sox.

LA VELLE E. NEAL III