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Twins to explore their options with Pelfrey

MINNEAPOLIS — It was more of the same on Thursday from Mike Pelfrey, and now the Twins will explore their options with the right-hander moving forward.

Pelfrey continued his early-season struggles to hand the Twins a 9-4 loss to the Dodgers in Game 1 of a split doubleheader at Target Field.

Pelfrey, who entered with a 7.32 ERA in four starts, turned in another poor outing, as he lasted a season-low four innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and three walks. He’s yet to go more than 5 1/3 innings in any of his outings this year, and is 0-3 with a 7.99 ERA.

“It’s frustrating,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He reverted back to the pace thing and didn’t throw it over enough. We were on the field a lot and he threw 85 pitches in four innings. So we just have to figure out what we need to do next and where we need to go next. We’ll sit down and talk with the pitching coach, the pitcher and everybody involved to see where we go with this.”

Gardenhire added that the Twins haven’t ruled out moving Pelfrey to the bullpen but will meet with Pelfrey and pitching coach Rick Anderson before making a decision.

Pelfrey was frustrated with himself after the game, and said he can’t put a finger on why his velocity is down this year and why he’s had so much trouble with his control. He’s walked 18 batters in 23 2/3 innings this season.

“It was the same thing that had been going for the last month — I was terrible,” Pelfrey said. “It was the same stuff of not locating your fastball, leaving pitches over the middle and walking guys. It’s been the same for five starts. It’s terrible. I’m sure the coaching staff and Gardy are frustrated but I’m more frustrated than anybody.”

He said he’d be OK with a move to the bullpen to try to straighten himself out but wasn’t sure of his status until meeting with Gardenhire and Anderson.

“I probably wouldn’t be happy but obviously I’m not helping the team every five days,” Pelfrey said. “So I’d accept it and do the best I can.”

Right-hander Samuel Deduno went four innings in relief, giving up three runs on seven hits and two walks with four strikeouts. He threw 62 pitches, and is a candidate to join the rotation.

“Sammy is fine,” Gardenhire said. “He just has to get into a routine, too. We stretched him out pretty good today and we’ll make a decision here.”

Twins-Dodgers postponed due to inclement weather

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins’ scheduled game with the Dodgers on Tuesday at Target Field was postponed due to inclement weather, and it will be made up as part of a split doubleheader on Thursday.

It marked the second straight game postponed due to weather for the Twins, as Sunday’s game against the Tigers was also postponed and will be made up at a later date. Rain and snow was in the forecast on Tuesday, leading to the decision to postpone the game more than six hours before scheduled first pitch.

Tuesday’s scheduled game will be made up at 6:10 p.m. CT on Thursday, while Thursday’s day game will be held as originally scheduled at 12:10 p.m. Gates open for Game 1 at 11 a.m. and open for Game 2 at 5 p.m.

Right-hander Kyle Gibson, who was scheduled to start on Sunday before he was pushed back to Tuesday because of Sunday’s rainout, will start on Wednesday.

“You just have to roll with it,” Gibson said. “Mother nature is something you just have to deal with. It’s my third time treating it like it’s my start. But I threw a bullpen Sunday and I feel good about that. So I was able to work on stuff I think is going to help me. I’m just preparing as much as I can.”

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire added that right-hander Mike Pelfrey will start Game 1 of the doubleheader but the starter for Game 2 won’t be announced until Wednesday. If the Twins don’t recall a player from Triple-A Rochester for Thursday’s start, the Twins would have to either call up a starter for Sunday against the Orioles or use Gibson on short rest. Left-handers Kris Johnson and Logan Darnell are candidates to be recalled if the Twins decide to go that route.

“Gibson is going to start tomorrow, and Mike Pelfrey will start the first game of the doubleheader and then we’ll go from there and figure out who’s starting from there,” Gardenhire said.

The Twins still held workouts at Target Field despite the rainout with position players hitting in the cages and pitchers throwing light bullpen sessions. Gardenhire said the decision was made to hold a workout because the Twins haven’t played since Saturday.

“Guys who went out there throwing today said it felt like they hadn’t in a year. It’s only been a few days but we had an off-day also. So it’s been a couple days without baseball so it’s been a little different. Mother nature is winning right now.”

Fans holding tickets to the postponed game have two options: They can use their tickets for the rescheduled game on Thursday or exchange them for a future Twins regular-season game in 2014. Unused tickets may be exchanged only at the Target Field ticket office located on Target Plaza off 7th Street.

Tuesday marked the third time a game has been postponed due to weather at Target Field this season. It’s also the 11th postponed game since the stadium opened in 2010.

Game 2: Twins shuffle lineup with Mauer hitting second

CHICAGO — The Twins shuffled their lineup against the White Sox on Wednesday, as Joe Mauer moved up into the two-hole while Kurt Suzuki slid down to bat seventh with right-hander Felipe Paulino on the mound.

Suzuki hit second in the first game of the season on Wednesday, and went 2-for-4 with three RBIs but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said the lineup is still a work in progress.

“We’re going to move him up and down the lineup, and we’re going to move our lineup around an awful lot,” Gardenhire said. “We’re going to change it up.”

Jason Kubel also made his first start of the year, batting cleanup and starting in left field with Josh Willingham hitting third and serving as designated hitter.

Twins catcher Josmil Pinto is expected to make his first start on Thursday over Suzuki with left-hander Jose Quintana starting for Chicago in the series finale.

“Suzuki is our starter so he’s going to catch a lot of games,” Gardenhire said. “Pinto is going to play a lot, too. So we’ll get Pinto into a lot of ballgames.”

Twins lineup:

1. Brian Dozier, 2B
2. Joe Mauer, 1B
3. Josh Willingham, DH
4. Jason Kubel, LF
5. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
6. Oswaldo Arcia, RF
7. Kurt Suzuki, C
8. Aaron Hicks, CF
9. Pedro Florimon, SS

RHP Kevin Correia

White Sox lineup:

1. Adam Eaton, CF
2. Marcus Semien, 3B
3. Jose Abreu, 1B
4. Adam Dunn, DH
5. Avisail Garcia, RF
6. Alejandro De Aza, LF
7. Alexei Ramirez, SS
8. Tyler Flowers, C
9. Leury Garcia, 2B

RHP Felipe Paulino

Opening Day lineups for Twins and White Sox

CHICAGO — It’s Opening Day here at U.S. Cellular Field, and it looks like it should be a beautiful day for baseball.

The Twins already made a roster move this morning, as they officially added left-hander Brian Duensing to the paternity list and recalled right-hander Michael Tonkin from Triple-A Rochester. But the move was expected, as Tonkin was at Sunday’s informal workout.

The first lineup of the season is also out, and Jason Kubel is sitting with left-hander Chris Sale on the mound for the White Sox. Chris Colabello gets the start at designated hitter over Kubel, even though he hit better against right-handed pitchers than left-handers last season in both the Minors and Majors.

Kurt Suzuki is also batting second, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise, considering he hit there late in spring. But it’s still a curious decision, as Suzuki has a career .309 on-base percentage and just a .282 on-base percentage over the last two seasons.

But the Twins just don’t have many options for the two-hole unless they decide to move Joe Mauer up in the lineup like they did last year. Aaron Hicks also could move up but the Twins want to ease him into the lineup after he went just 2-for-48 to start last year as the club’s leadoff hitter. So we’ll see how long the Suzuki batting second experiment lasts.

Twins lineup:

1. Brian Dozier, 2B
2. Kurt Suzuki, C
3. Joe Mauer, 1B
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Chris Colabello, DH
6. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
7. Oswaldo Arcia, RF
8. Aaron Hicks, CF
9. Pedro Florimon, SS

RHP Ricky Nolasco

White Sox lineup:

1. Adam Eaton, CF
2. Marcus Semien, DH
3. Conor Gillaspie, 3B
4. Jose Abreu, 1B
5. Adam Dunn, DH
6. Avisail Garcia, RF
7. Alejandro De Aza, LF
8. Alexei Ramirez, SS
9. Tyler Flowers, C

LHP Chris Sale

Duensing to be added to three-day paternity list

CHICAGO — Left-hander Brian Duensing will be placed on the paternity list on Monday, and right-hander Michael Tonkin will be recalled from Triple-A Rochester to take his spot on the roster.

Duensing, who flew back home to Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday night, is expecting his second child with his wife, Lisa. Duensing is expected to be on paternity leave for three days so he could return in time for the third game of the season against the White Sox on Thursday.

“I think the doctors decided a few days ago that everything was good but they didn’t want to wait any longer and induce today,” Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. “He came in and felt bad but we told him not to worry about it.”

With Duensing on paternity leave, it gives Tonkin his first chance to be on an Opening Day roster after originally being optioned to Triple-A Rochester on Monday.

Tonkin, 24, had an impressive showing in Spring Training, as he didn’t allow a run in seven appearances. The 6-foot-7 right-hander gave up just three hits over 8 1/3 innings, striking out five and walking two.

“Tonkin could’ve been on my baseball team and on this staff just like a lot of other guys we sent out this spring,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I’ve got no worries. We just want Deuce to go home and take care of his wife and the baby. It’s a beautiful thing for that. I know he wants to be here but there are more important things than that. It’s an exciting moment so we want him to be his wife. And we’ll have Tonkin here so we’re happy about that. I’m not afraid to put him anywhere.”

Gibson, Diamond to compete for final rotation spot

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The competition for the fifth spot in the rotation became a bit clearer for the Twins on Friday, as the fifth spot is now expected to be occupied by either right-hander Kyle Gibson or left-hander Scott Diamond.

Right-hander Samuel Deduno, who was considered the favorite for the fifth spot in his rotation based on his 3.83 ERA in 18 starts last season and his 2.19 ERA in five Grapefruit League appearances, is expected to start the year as a long reliever.

Gibson is now the frontrunner, and gets the start against the Orioles on Tuesday, while Diamond is scheduled to piggyback Gibson in that game. There were early reports saying Gibson had already won the job but it was shot down by both Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony.

Deduno also remains in that mix in case Gibson or Diamond falter but given Deduno’s propensity for high pitch counts that don’t allow him to go deep into games, the Twins like him better in long relief. Diamond, who like Deduno is out of Minor League options, also could head to the bullpen or be placed on waivers if he loses out to Gibson.

“There’s a better chance that Deduno will end up in the bullpen,” Antony said. “I think he’s still in the mix for the rotation. We’re going to continue to pitch him stretched out but we only have a week left to straighten this out so it’s going to be more Gibson and Diamond. Deduno is still in the mix but we feel like he could handle the bullpen better.”

Right-hander Vance Worley was originally in that mix but was outrighted to Triple-A Rochester on Friday after clearing waivers.

Terry Ryan makes surprise visit to Hammond Stadium

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Twins general manager Terry Ryan made a surprise visit to Hammond Stadium on Friday, and is scheduled to watch the Twins play the Yankees on Saturday afternoon before heading back to Minnesota.

Ryan, who underwent surgery to remove a cancerous lump from his neck on Feb. 11, caught the last few innings of Minnesota’s 9-1 loss to the Mets, and more importantly had a chance to meet with Twins coaches and staff members to show that he’s feeling much better.

Ryan still has five more weeks of radiation left, and underwent radiation before his flight Friday, but looked healthy and showed no ill-effects from the radiation treatments, which began on March 13. He did lose about 14 pounds after the surgery but said he’s gained roughly half of it back.

“I decided it was probably a good thing and important to come down here and show everybody that I’m still engaged,” Ryan said. “I’m not sure what the right decision is. But I have to go back because I have radiation five days a week from Monday to Friday. So I can’t stay long. As much as I’d like to be here at least a week, I can’t, and I have to leave tomorrow.”

Ryan, 60, was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in early February after a lump was found in a lymph node in his neck. He underwent surgery at the Mayo Clinic on Feb. 11 and was released from the hospital three days later.

He said he’s still been able to watch Twins games on television with all 16 of their home games televised locally by Fox Sports North, and remains in constant contact with his assistants Rob Antony, Wayne Krivsky, Mike Radcliff, Bill Smith and Jack Goin.

“If I have treatment in the morning, I go right from there to my Target [Field] office,” Ryan said. “It works out fine. I stay till mid-afternoon and go home and turn [baseball] on. So it’s a decent day. I get plenty of information. When I get home, I have the opportunity to watch a lot of games. MLB televises like three games a day so it’s very convenient to keep an eye on the industry.”

Ryan said he’ll miss Opening Day against the White Sox on March 31 in Chicago, as he won’t be able to travel much until he’s done with radiation treatments in late April. But he said he plans on being there for every game at Target Field, including the home opener against the A’s on April 7. Antony is expected to travel in Ryan’s place early in the season when the Twins are on the road.

“All the home games I’ll be in attendance,” Ryan said. “If things go right, I should be OK, and move on.”

Ryan added that he plans to meet with Twins players in the clubhouse before Saturday’s game but said he’s more likely to talk to the players one-on-one rather than giving a speech to the team. He also said he plans on heading over to the Minor League side as well.

Antony, who has been serving as acting GM in Ryan’s absence this spring, was among those who had a chance to see Ryan on Friday, and was happy to see Ryan doing so well.

“I think it’s a relief and good for everybody to see him,” Antony said. “Just to catch up with him and talk to him. We went over a few things about the team but we also talked about how he’s doing.”

Ryan also wanted to give out the message that he appreciates all the support he’s received from those around the game, including Twins employees and fans.

“I’m thankful for all the attention, help and care and interest,” Ryan said. “There have been hundreds and hundreds of well-wishes. It’s unbelievable the support I’ve got. My wife [Karilyn] has had to a lot of stuff for me because I was on a feeding tube for a while. But I’m feeling good right now. I’m optimistic things are moving in the right direction. There’s no doubt about that.”

Worley clears waivers, outrighted to Triple-A Rochester

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Right-hander Vance Worley, who came into camp competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Rochester on Friday.

Worley, who was out of Minor League options and couldn’t be sent to the Minors without clearing waivers, posted a 13.50 ERA in four Grapefruit League appearances, including a rough outing against the Rays on Tuesday night, when he gave up seven runs on 11 hits, including six doubles. He was placed on waivers after his poor outing against the Rays, and cleared Friday afternoon.

His struggles have been a continuation from last year, when Worley started the year as the club’s Opening Day starter, but had a 7.21 ERA in 10 starts before being optioned to Triple-A Rochester in late May.

Worley, 26, was originally acquired by the Twins before the 2013 season in a trade that sent Ben Revere to the Phillies. Worley had bone chips removed from his elbow before the ’13 campaign and saw his season end in July because of a shoulder strain, but he came into camp healthy and 25 pounds lighter.

But the results haven’t been there, and Worley pitched himself out of consideration for the fifth spot in the rotation.

He’ll now go to Triple-A Rochester, where he’ll be a part of the rotation there and give the Twins starting pitching depth. The move also opens up a roster spot for the Twins, who now have 39 players on their 40-man roster.

Perkins signs new extension through ’17 season

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Twins closer Glen Perkins is staying put in his native Minnesota for the foreseeable future.

Perkins, who was already signed to an extension through the 2015 season, restructured his deal and signed a new extension through the 2017 season on Friday.

The left-hander will make $4.025 million this season, $4.65 million in 2015, $6.3 million in ’16 and $6.5 million in ’17. The deal also includes a $6.5 million club option for the ’18 season that includes a $700,000 buyout, guaranteeing Perkins $22.175 million through the ’17 season.

Perkins, a Stillwater, Minn. native who also pitched at the University of Minnesota, said he was the one who first went to the Twins about the extension because he wanted to stay with his hometown club.

“I think the priority was getting it done quickly, which we did,” Perkins said. “I was the one approached them because I want to be here. I made that clear. I believe in what we’re doing here and I want to be a part of that. I’m thankful for them broaching the subject with me, and extending themselves on something they weren’t required to do. So I’m appreciative of that and excited about it.”

Perkins, 31, was an All-Star for the first time last year, when he posted a 2.30 ERA with 36 saves in 40 chances. The lefty also struck out 77 and walked 15 in 62 2/3 innings.

Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said the deal happened quickly after meeting with Perkins’ agent, John Courtwright, on Thursday. Antony added that Perkins wanting an extension came as somewhat as a surprise to the organization because Perkins had already signed an extension before the ’12 season as well.

“It kinda caught me off-guard a little bit because he had a few more years on his deal,” Antony said. “But he was reasonable with what they came with and what they wanted to do. It made some sense for us. When he signed his initial deal it was as a setup guy with some protection if he became closer. This way, he gets treated like a closer. He gets security and we get a deal we’re comfortable with.”

Perkins took over as closer for the Twins during the ’12 season, replacing Matt Capps as closer in late June, and ended that season with a 2.56 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings to go along with 16 saves.

It came after he was moved to the bullpen full-time in ’11, excelling with a 2.48 ERA with 65 strikeouts and 21 walks in 61 2/3 innings as a setup man.

But it wasn’t always easy for Perkins, as he had a combined 5.87 ERA from ’09-10, including a 5.81 ERA in 124 innings at Triple-A Rochester in ’10.

Perkins, though, has found his niche in the bullpen and made it clear that he doesn’t want to pitch for any other club other than the Twins.

“I grew up in Minnesota and there’s nowhere else I want to play,” Perkins said. “So now hopefully this is something where I can play here my whole career.”

Game 12: Hicks, Colabello homer but it’s not enough

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Aaron Hicks and Chris Colabello both homered but Kevin Correia and Vance Worley each gave up four runs in an 8-4 loss to the Pirates on Wednesday afternoon at Hammond Stadium.

Hicks, who had been dealing with a sore right shoulder, made an immediate impact, as he homered in his first at-bat since March 4 with a pinch-hit solo blast off lefty Adam Wilk in the fifth inning.

What went right: Hicks couldn’t have scripted a better return to action, as the homer also came on his first swing on a 1-0 fastball from Wilk.

Hicks, who hit the homer from the right side, also laced a line drive to first base in his next at-bat while batting left-handed but it was caught by Chris McGuiness.

Colabello also continued his hot start to Spring Training with a two-run shot off right-hander Jake Brigham. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire commented after the game that Colabello, who is hitting .467 this spring, has been the club’s best hitter in Grapefruit League play.

Joe Mauer also went 2-for-2 with a walk, while Trevor Plouffe went 2-for-3 with a run scored. Josmil Pinto also went 1-for-2 with a walk and is now batting .444 this spring.

Right-hander Deolis Guerra turned in a third straight scoreless appearance, and struck out one. Gardenhire said he’s been impressed by Guerra’s changeup this spring, as it’s been getting a lot of swings and misses.

What went wrong: Correia had his first rough start of the spring, giving up four runs on seven hits over three innings.

He gave up a two-run blast to his former teammate Pedro Alvarez but said after the game that he wouldn’t have given a fastball to Alvarez with a runner on second and two outs during the regular season.

Worley also pitched better than his line indicated, as he gave up four runs on three hits and two walks over 3 2/3 innings.

He was also done in by a two-run blast — this one from Travis Ishikawa — but said it came on a changeup, which is his fourth-best pitch and one he was trying to work on during Wednesday’s outing. Gardenhire actually liked what he saw from Worley, who was otherwise effective and kept the ball down with a fastball that was hitting 93 mph.

Alex Presley and Josh Willingham both continued their slow starts to the spring, as they both went 0-for-2. Presley is now hitting .190, while Willingham is batting .067. Jason Bartlett also went 0-for-3 and doesn’t have a hit in 17 at-bats this spring.

What they said: “It felt good to be able to make solid contact after being out for a while. It felt good to get a good pitch to hit. Everything feels good.” — Hicks on homering in his first at-bat since March 4.

What’s next: Right-hander Phil Hughes is slated to make his third Grapefruit League appearance on Thursday against the Red Sox in a 12:05 p.m. CT start at Hammond Stadium. Hughes, who signed a three-year, $24 million deal with the Twins this offseason, has a 1.59 ERA this spring. Right-hander Samuel Deduno is also scheduled to pitch for the Twins.

Injury update: Shortstop Pedro Florimon, who had his appendix removed on Feb. 19, is getting closer to returning to game action. He could play in Minor League games as early as this weekend, according to assistant general manager Rob Antony.

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