Out of rotation race, Stauffer heads to bullpen

Out of rotation race, Stauffer heads to bullpen

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins manager Paul Molitor and pitching coach Neil Allen met with Tim Stauffer on Wednesday morning to tell the right-hander he's out of the running for a spot in the rotation and will head to the bullpen.

Stauffer, who joined the Twins this offseason on a one-year, $2.2 million deal, has struggled this spring, giving up 12 runs (10 earned) in six innings. With Stauffer officially out of the mix, it leaves Tommy Milone, Mike Pelfrey, Alex Meyer and Trevor May as the candidates competing for the fifth spot in the rotation.

"We had a little conversation this morning," Molitor said. "We're going to make a little adjustment with his routine, and he is going to get into more of a bullpen routine and something more in the lines of that role. And he was fine with that."

Stauffer, 32, was solid while pitching almost exclusively in relief for the Padres over the past two seasons, posting a 3.63 ERA with 131 strikeouts in 134 innings. He was previously a starting pitcher before he converted to relief in 2013, so Molitor said Stauffer's role in the bullpen is undecided. Stauffer could serve as a long reliever or even in a seventh- or eighth-inning role.

"He's done different things in the past with the Padres, and because he has a starter history, he could be a longer guy. But he also could be a matchup guy, right on right," Molitor said. "We've talked about for a while that we don't have our seventh- or eighth-inning guys set in stone, and our closer hasn't pitched in two weeks. So we're going to try to get those guys to do different things over the next 18 or 19 days and see how they respond."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.