Twins place Pelfrey on DL with back strain

Twins place Pelfrey on DL with back strain

Twins place Pelfrey on DL with back strain

CLEVELAND -- Mike Pelfrey felt a little stiff after running on Saturday. The Twins weren't sure if he'd be able to start the following day, and after P.J. Walters lasted through just two-thirds of an inning, they decided to have a pitcher from Triple-A Rochester ready to go in case Pelfrey was unavailable.

When Pelfrey woke up on Sunday, he still didn't feel right. Minnesota decided to place him on the 15-day disabled list with a back strain, retroactive to June 19. To take his place, the Twins recalled left-hander Pedro Hernandez, who drove with his family overnight from Louisville to Cleveland to deliver a solid five-inning start on Sunday before getting optioned back to Triple-A.

"If you're driving to Triple-A, it's not the ideal situation. If you're driving to the big leagues, it's an ideal situation," manager Ron Gardenhire said before the game. "He'll be excited. ... He's been throwing well. We know what we've got here. He's got to locate the ball. He's got to use all of his pitches and change speeds."

In five outings (four starts) with Rochester, Hernandez was 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA. He pitched for the Twins during the season's first two months, going 2-1 with a 5.85 ERA in eight appearances (six starts).

Andrew Albers is making his regularly scheduled start for the Red Wings on Sunday, but he's never pitched in the big leagues and the Twins didn't think calling him up in this situation would make for a proper debut.

"We talked to [Rochester manager] Gene Glynn," said Rob Antony, Minnesota's assistant general manager. "He said Hernandez was probably the most prepared to make a spot start like this right now."

After Walters' short-lived outing on Saturday, the Twins used Anthony Swarzak for 3 1/3 innings (67 pitches), Ryan Pressly for three innings (43 pitches) and Caleb Thielbar for an inning (11 pitches).

"A couple guys stepped up and really saved us yesterday," Gardenhire said. "We got some guys who can throw the ball today and can eat up innings, too. We definitely need our starter to get through a few innings here. That would be really nice."

Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.