Fifth starter among spots Twins need to decide

Fifth starter among spots Twins need to decide

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins manager Paul Molitor said after Tuesday's win over the Blue Jays that he wants to have most of his roster decisions made by this coming weekend, with the start of the regular season looming on April 6.

"I'd like to kind of have an idea of what I'm dealing with next week," Molitor said.

That plan might be easier said than done, however.

"In a perfect world, that's the idea," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "But it's not a perfect world. Spring Training's not a perfect world.

"You'd like to make them as soon as you know, and as we know, I think we probably will make them. But there are some things up in the air."

Obstacles such as injuries can delay the decision-making process. That could be the situation in the backup catcher competition, where Josmil Pinto had his spring interrupted on Saturday by concussion symptoms. Pinto resumed baseball activities on Wednesday, but has not yet returned to game action.

The Twins also have several decisions to make with regard to their pitching staff. Left-hander Tommy Milone, who starts Thursday against the Red Sox, is competing for the fifth rotation spot against righties Mike Pelfrey and Trevor May. There also are bullpen jobs up for grabs, and Ryan said that any of those three potential starters could make the team as relievers instead.

Ryan believes all three have pitched well enough to earn a roster spot, but their upcoming outings will go a long way toward determining their fates.

"We've got guys who are at least making the decisions difficult at this point," Ryan said. "Now, the dial turns up when you get to where we're at. All the sudden you're going to see some things that aren't going to be pretty, and now you have to take that into consideration.

"There are certain guys that are going to have to perform. As cold as that sounds, we're not worried about [Phil] Hughes and what those guys do. If they go out and have one of those stinkers, that's the way it is. But there are guys who are going to have to perform, especially at this time of camp."

Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.