FORT MYERS, Fla. — For a quiet Saturday morning, there is a lot of activity at Twins camp.
Not all of it was happy, either. Ryan Pressly, the hard-throwing right-handed reliever, was optioned to Class AAA Rochester this morning, after a disappointing spring. Pressly, 26, who spent the entire 2013 season in the Twins’ bullpen, came into camp as a strong candidate to earn a spot in the 2015 pen. But his fastball has been hittable all month — in his four Grapefruit League appearances, he never gave up fewer than two hits — and his ERA stood at 8.31 when manager Paul Molitor delivered the bad news today.
That brings the roster to 42 players, and more importantly, 11 relief pitchers for seven spots. (If a starting pitcher winds up in the bullpen, it’s six spots.) Glen Perkins, who today will face major-league hitters for the first time this spring, owns one of those spots, and it’s presumed that Brian Duensing, Tim Stauffer and Casey Fien are assured of a job as well.
That leaves this group, with two or three positions available: A.J. Acuter, Blaine Boyer, J.R. Graham, Mark Hamburger, Stephen Pryor, Caleb Thielbar and Aaron Thompson. It remains a possibility that Tommy Milone or even Mike Pelfrey might be given a relief role, too, if they don’t earn a starting job.
Those decisions are no more than two weeks away now.
As for today, Molitor took half the team north to Port Charlotte, where they will play the Rays, while the other half stays at Hammond Stadium to face the Orioles, with Joe Vavra as acting manager. (The home game is televised on Fox Sports North.) Five minor leaguers are in uniform today: pitchers Cole Johnson and Brandon Peterson, catcher Matt Koch, infielder Tony Thomas and outfielder Wilkin Ramirez.
It’s a big day for Trevor May, who will start against the Rays, and Milone, who pitches to the Orioles. Along with Pelfrey, they are locked in a battle for the last spot in the starting rotation.
Here are the lineups for today’s games:
Malone LHP, followed by Perkins, Duensing, Graham.
May RHP, followed by Hamburger, Thompson, Achter.