February 18th, 2013

Pelfrey pleased with first live bullpen session

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Today marked the first day of live batting practice for Twins pitchers and catchers, and no one was more pleased to participate than right-hander Mike Pelfrey.

Pelfrey, who had Tommy John surgery on May 1, remains ahead of schedule and threw 38 pitches in a live bullpen session against Drew Butera, Wilkin Ramirez and Chris Colabello. He estimated he also threw about 40 more pitches off the mound to warm up.

“I forgot how much fun that was,” Pelfrey said. “It had been a long time. That was my reward for busting my butt the last nine and a half months. I had a blast out there and wanted to keep going. I felt great. It surprised me how well the ball was coming out of my hand.”

Pelfrey said he’s feeling good enough that he’ll be on the same schedule as the rest of the pitchers in camp, as he’s set to throw again on Wednesday and on Friday. He threw all of his pitches in his bullpen session — without the use of the protective L-screen — and was pleased with all of them with the exception of his slider, which he didn’t throw for a strike.

He maintained that’ll he’ll be ready for the start of the season with the Twins set to open on April 1 against the Tigers on Opening Day.

“I’m going to be ready,” Pelfrey said. “I guess it’s hard for some people to believe maybe. But I feel great. There are some doctors who are a little more aggressive. And Dr. James Andrews is that way and that’s who I went to. So I have no doubt in my mind that Opening Day I’ll be on the team.”

Here are some other notes from camp:

— Right-hander Rich Harden, who is coming back from shoulder surgery, took two days off to recover after throwing a bullpen on Saturday but is scheduled to throw again tomorrow. He didn’t suffer a setback but is just taking it slow.

— Third baseman Trevor Plouffe is dealing with a sore right calf and has been limited in early workouts, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. But the injury is minor and he’s only being held out for precautionary reasons. He’s yet to participate in any of the infield drills and hasn’t been running either.

— Gardenhire wouldn’t say who the first starter will be once Grapefruit League play begins on Saturday. He said they’re also working to add “B” games to the schedule against the Red Sox, Rays or Pirates.

— Josh Willingham asked for bunting advice from Rod Carew, who shook his head before giving him some tips. But don’t expect Willingham to bunt in a game because here’s what Gardenhire had to say when asked when he’ll call for Willingham to bunt: “If I’m ever trying to get fired.”

And here are some photos from today’s action: