ST. PETERSBURG -- Right-hander P.J. Walters has decided to stay in the Twins organization, accepting an outright assignment to Triple-A Rochester on Monday after being designated for assignment last Thursday.
Walters, 2-5 with a 5.95 ERA in eight starts for Minnesota this season, cleared waivers and had the option to become a free agent, but he instead chose to go back to Triple-A with the hope of being called up to rejoin the Twins at some point this season.
"He had a lot of good things to say about the way he was treated and how he has been treated over the two years. Wanted to stay with the organization," assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "He thought about it, and obviously he has the questions that anybody would ask. 'What's the situation? Do you think I have a chance to come back up or are you guys going to go young and bring up some of the younger guys?'
"I said there's no crystal ball, there's no guarantees, but go down there, get an opportunity to pitch, and if you're the guy, just like earlier this year, you might get a chance to come back up."
Walters will report to Rochester on Tuesday, and Antony said he hopes to make a start before the club's All-Star break from July 15-17. The 28-year-old has spent parts of five seasons in the Majors, posting a 6-10 record and 6.28 ERA in his career.
"There's a couple guys that are pitching fairly well down [in the Minors] right now that I would say probably would be ahead of him if we had to make a move tomorrow. But we'll just send him out," Antony said. "We've got some guys that are doing all right down there."
Manager Ron Gardenhire said Walters is "not necessarily" buried so far down on the Twins' depth chart that he won't get called up again. As Gardenhire put it, "We always go with who's throwing the best," should the need for a spot starter arise.
"We were disappointed when we had to make the move in the first place, because we like the guy an awful lot," Gardenhire said. "As we told him, 'We know we've got to do this. Hopefully you'll make it through for our benefit and you would accept. We would love to keep you.'
"I think he knows he'll get a chance again. We've given him the opportunity a couple times. We like him, and we were hoping it would work out for us that we got to keep him. And fortunately for us, he wanted to stay. We're happy about that."