Twins designate P.J. Walters for release or assignment

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins knew they were going to have to make a roster move in order to make room for Mike Pelfrey on the 25-man roster. Ultimately, P.J. Walters was the odd man out.

Minnesota designated Walters for release or assignment after Thursday’s game and will activate Pelfrey from the disabled list before his start on Saturday in Toronto. In eight starts this year for the Twins, Walters was 2-5 with a 5.95 ERA. He also appeared in 12 games last year and was also 2-5 with a 5.69 ERA in 2012.

Because Walters is out of minor league options, Minnesota had to designate him rather than send him to Triple-A Rochester.

“No matter which way we went, it was going to suck,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said about the roster move. “Somebody was going to have to go. We like these guys out there. P.J.’s thrown some pretty good ballgames for us and pitched pretty well.”

Walters recently had back-to-back outings in which he was hit around early and often. On June 22 against Cleveland, he allowed six runs on one hit and five walks in just two thirds of an inning before he was pulled. His next time out he surrendered six runs in three innings against Kansas City.

Walters bounced back to go five innings Wednesday against the Yankees and allowed three runs in a 3-2 loss. Still, it wasn’t enough to save his job.

“He’s done a decent job for us, stepped in and really helped us out when we were really scuffling along,” Gardenhire said. “It’s not easy. We’ll see where this takes him and see how this all turns out.”

Pelfrey went on the 15-day disabled list on June 23 with a back strain and made a rehab start with Low-A Cedar Rapids on Monday. He pitched six innings in that game and allowed two runs on two hits. Pelfrey, 29, is 3-6 with a 6.11 ERA in 14 starts this season, his first with the Twins.

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