Twins set starting rotation; Pelfrey unhappy with move to bullpen

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The Twins chose left-hander Tommy Milone as their fifth starter in the pitching rotation Saturday, choosing him over right-handers Mike Pelfrey and Trevor May.

Centerfielder Aaron Hicks was also cut from the Opening Day roster.

Pelfrey will move to the bullpen while May was sent to Triple-A Rochester, MLB.com reports.

Pelfrey vented his frustrations with the move, and questioned whether the competition between the pitchers was a fair one.

Pelfrey said he finally feels healthy. In 2013, he was coming off Tommy John surgery, and had season-ending elbow surgery last May after just five starts.

Pelfrey, who is owed $5.5 million, intimated that he'd be open to a trade if it allows him to start elsewhere. But he added he won't let it affect his relationship with the coaching staff, said MLB.com.

Twins general manager Terry Ryan downplayed the notion of a trade. He said he understands why Pelfrey is frustrated but wants him to embrace his new role in the bullpen for now.

"We've been good to Mike," Ryan said. "As we know, we'll go through quite a few starting pitchers.That's historically how it goes. So I'd like to see him go to the pen and get some outs for us, and if an opening occurs, he'd be a guy we'd consider."

Meantime, Milone had a strong performance during spring training, posting a 4.50 ERA in 14 innings with eight strikeouts and four walks.

However, last season his stats were not as good. He had a 7.06 ERA in 21 2/3 innings with the Twins. But he was bothered by discomfort in his neck, which is now gone after having surgery in December to remove a benign tumor.

"Obviously, that was the goal coming into Spring Training trying to get that spot," Milone said, according to MLB.com. "So it's refreshing that the time has come and they made the decision. But the job isn't over. The next thing is to keep it."

Hicks, who was considered the frontrunner for centerfield, batted just .206 in 13 games.

“The bottom line was that he didn’t perform particularly well,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said, according to the Star Tribune. “There were times when we saw some good things, obviously. ... the Opening Day roster isn’t critical to what his year can be about.”

Fellow outfielder Eddie Rosario was also sent to Rochester, and reliever Mark Hamburger was reassigned to the minor league camp.

The Twins now have 31 players on their roster, and must cut six more before Opening Day.

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