MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins struck gold last season when Jared Burton developed into a shutdown reliever after joining the club on a Minor League deal.
And now they're hoping the same from fellow right-hander Tim Wood, who was a Minor League free agent this offseason and signed a Major League deal with the club with an invitation to Spring Training in November. He originally signed a Minor League deal with the Twins, but the club signed him to a Major League deal worth $675,000 to avoid exposing him to the Rule 5 Draft.
Wood was honored by Baseball America as the best reliever in the International League for a second straight year, posting a 2.19 ERA with 67 strikeouts in 70 innings with Pittsburgh's Triple-A affiliate last season.
"The last two years, something clicked and I'd like to keep it going, especially from last year," Wood said. "I'd like to keep that rolling. I have confidence I can get big league hitters out."
Wood has a shot to make the club as a reliever out of Spring Training, and said that's his ultimate goal heading into the year.
"I'm looking forward to making the big league team because that's the reason I'm here," Wood said. "Coming in, I have to win a job. Nothing is handed out in this game. So I need to do what I have to do and take care of business, and hopefully I'll be back here in April and help the Twins win."
Pelfrey expects to enter spring without limitations
MINNEAPOLIS -- New addition Mike Pelfrey made his first appearance at TwinsFest on Saturday, and said that he's expecting to enter Spring Training without any limitations.
Pelfrey, who underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on May 1, is ahead of schedule in his rehab and plans on entering the season just like any other.
"When I signed, they kind of gave me a three-week break," said Pelfrey, who signed a one-year deal worth $4 million on Dec. 20. "I picked it back up and threw 45 pitches yesterday before I came. I cranked it back up. I plan on going to Spring Training with no restrictions and being like any other guy there, be ready to go."
Pelfrey said he's excited about switching over to the American League and has heard only positive things about the Twins and Target Field. His only big league experience has come with the Mets, as he has a career 4.36 ERA in 896 1/3 innings.
He added that he's excited about the prospects of turning around the team after the Twins finished in last place each of the last two seasons.
"Obviously I wasn't here last year, but I've had guys tell me the biggest struggle was the starting rotation," Pelfrey said. "The thing they brought up was a lot of times, the second or third inning, you're down 5-0 early. I think the offense starts to press. It obviously makes it tough on the bullpen. They've brought some guys in, [Vance] Worley and [Kevin] Correia and myself, that I think we can get this thing turned around and get a lot more consistency in keeping them in ballgames. From my understanding, this offense is going to put up some runs. If we can keep them in the game and get the ball over to the bullpen, I like our chances."
Worley, May meet new teammates at TwinsFest
MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-handers Vance Worley and Trevor May, who were both acquired in the trade that sent Ben Revere to Philadelphia, had a chance to meet their new teammates at TwinsFest at the Metrodome.
Worley, who is expected to be in the rotation after posting a 3.50 ERA in parts of three seasons with the Phillies, said he learned plenty during his time in Philadelphia pitching alongside Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.
"Hopefully I'll bring a little bit that I did learn from being in Philly from Doc, Cole and Cliff," Worley said. "I took a little bit from each one of those guys, and hopefully I can show these guys what those guys could do too and build off each other here."
May, ranked as the club's No. 6 prospect according to MLB.com, spent 2012 in Double-A where he posted a 4.87 ERA with 151 strikeouts in 149 2/3 innings. He had his share of struggles in midseason, but said he's worked everything out heading into this season.
"I had real high expectations from that first month on, but stumbled a little bit," said May, who is expected to start in Triple-A. "I look back and think of it as growing pains. I thought I was a much better pitcher at the end of the year, even with the numbers at the beginning of the year, much better at the beginning than the end. All in all, a success. It might not have seemed that way on paper because the stumbling happened for a little bit longer than I would have liked. But I feel like I'm definitely closer to my goal than I was going into last year."