FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Mike Pelfrey is feeling good about his accelerated rehabilitation from reconstructive elbow surgery. Now, he needs to get the results he wants.
Pelfrey gave up five runs in his fourth spring training outing, and the Minnesota Twins lost to the Boston Red Sox 7-3 Thursday.
The big right-hander, who signed a one-year, $4-million contract with the Twins after five full big league seasons with the New York Mets, gave up six hits in just two innings.
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“I fell behind in the count a lot,” Pelfrey said. “That’s what’s going to happen when you do that. I put myself in a lot of bad spots. I didn’t make quality pitches. When you don’t do that, you’re not going to get results.”
Pelfrey had Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow on May 1. Typical rehabilitations from the surgery take about a full year. Pelfrey said he pushed his rehab in order to be ready for the regular season April 1.
“The best thing I can say about today is I walked off feeling good,” Pelfrey said. “I felt like I could have gone back out there and thrown 30 or 40 more pitches.”
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he had no concerns with Pelfrey, who has a 7.45 spring ERA.
Pelfrey had a 2.29 ERA in three starts for the Mets early last season. He went 7-13 with a 4.74 ERA in 2011 and had his best season in 2010, when he was 15-9 with a 3.66 ERA in 33 starts with a career-best 113 strikeouts in 204 innings.
“All I know is he’s ready to go,” Gardenhire said. “He’s ahead of the curve. He’s throwing great. It’s nothing to do with the surgery and everything to do with throwing the baseball. He hasn’t been out there in 10 months. So he just has to find it. But I have no concerns. None.”
Pelfrey did strike out Boston’s Mike Napoli at the end of a 10-pitch at-bat with the bases loaded.
“I think he hung in there,” Pelfrey said. “He kept fouling balls off. I kept trying to make pitches and trying to get him out. Finally, and luckily, I got him with one.”
But Boston’s Will Middlebrooks then cleared the bases with a double. Jacoby Ellsbury went 2-for-3 with an RBI, a walk and two runs scored for the Red Sox.
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Ryan Dempster struck out three and gave up one run — a homer — off three hits in four innings of work. He struck out three and walked two, finishing his fourth spring appearance with a 2.13 ERA.
“I got some really good work in,” Dempster said. “I started off a little bit slower than I would have liked, but I kept getting better as the game went along. I just have to continue to try to get better and build off it as much as I can.”
Twins outfield prospect Joe Benson, who had been slumping at the plate this spring training, upped his spring batting average to .195 by going 3 for 4 with a walk and a run scored.
“He’s confident,” Gardenhire said. “Hopefully he can stay that way.”
NOTES: The Twins optioned RHP Kyle Gibson and LHP Caleb Thielbar to Triple-A Rochester and reassigned RHP Anthony Slama, C Kyle Knudson and IF James Beresford to minor league camp. Gibson, 25, had been expected to contend for a rotation spot this spring. He is 18 months removed from Tommy John surgery on his elbow and needs more time to develop in the minors, Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. “His velocity was impressive,” Ryan said. “The power on his slider was impressive. He has had a good changeup. Now it’s a matter of doing a little damage control and location and a little time. The location is probably not where he wants it. Between the angle and his size and his pitches and the ability to spin the ball, I don’t think there’s any question he’ll be back, it’s just a matter of when.” … Red Sox SS Stephen Drew remains out and day to day because of post-concussion issues. … SS Jose Iglesias started Thursday and went 1 for 3 with a double and a run scored.