Twins sign Mike Pelfrey, further bolstering rotation

Mike Pelfrey finished 5-13 with a 5.19 ERA and 53 walks in 152 2/3 innings last season.

Brace Hemmelgarn/Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins have agreed with

right-hander Mike Pelfrey on an $11 million, two-year contract, according to a

person with direct knowledge of the deal, filling another spot in their

revamped, veteran-heavy rotation.

The contract was reached over the weekend, pending a

physical, the person told The Associated Press on Monday on condition of

anonymity because the team had yet to finalize the deal.

Pelfrey made $4.1 million last season in a one-year deal

with the Twins, including $100,000 in a performance bonus for surpassing 150

innings in his first season back from elbow ligament- replacement surgery.

He made only three starts for the New York Mets in 2012

before the injury, but he recovered in time for 2013, taking the mound at

Target Field on April 4 just 11 months after the operation. Pelfrey picked up

the win that day in his American League debut, but the rest of the year was

rough, not an uncommon occurrence for pitchers following Tommy John surgery.

Pelfrey finished 5-13 for a 66-96 team, with a 5.19 ERA and

53 walks in 152 2-3 innings. Opponents batted .300 against him over 29 starts.

The Twins, though, took an opportunity to buy relatively low

and bank on an improvement by a former first-round draft pick who made at least

31 starts for the Mets for four straight seasons from 2008-11. He was 15-9 with

a 3.66 ERA over a career-high 204 innings in 2010 with only 12 home runs

allowed.

Pelfrey still posted a personal-best strikeout rate of six

per nine innings, despite his struggles. The soon-to-be-30-year-old is on track

to be the Twins’ fourth starter.

Minnesota previously signed right-handers Ricky Nolasco and

Phil Hughes for the top of the rotation, bringing its newly committed money for

starting pitching this offseason to $84 million guaranteed over the next four

seasons. Kevin Correia, the best of a bad bunch last year, is the only holdover

who appears to have a spot.

The first four starters will have an average opening-day age

of 30. Samuel Deduno, Scott Diamond, Kyle Gibson and Vance Worley, for now, are

the front-runners for the final slot. Twins starters had a majors-worst 5.26

ERA last season.