Twins move May to bullpen for now

Righty odd-man out with Santana returning to rotation

Twins move May to bullpen for now

KANSAS CITY -- With right-hander Ervin Santana joining the rotation on Sunday after serving his 80-game suspension for the use of a performance-enhancing drug, rookie right-hander Trevor May is the odd-man out and will move to the bullpen in the short-term.

May has made steady progress this year, and has a 4.37 ERA with 71 strikeouts and 18 walks in 80 1/3 innings. Advanced statistics such as Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) have also painted him as the club's best starter this season. He's been better of late with a 3.23 ERA since June 1, but he also gave up six runs while recording just one out against the Brewers on June 26.

Twins manager Paul Molitor said it's only a short-term move for May, as he could be moved to the rotation at Triple-A Rochester after the All-Star break instead of remaining in relief. It also allows right-hander Kyle Gibson to make two starts before the break on Tuesday and Sunday, while giving May a breather to limit his innings after throwing a combined 143 2/3 innings between the Majors and Minors last year. Molitor also said the rotation will continue to be evaluated after the All-Star break.

"No one pitched themselves out of the rotation," Molitor said. "I didn't really want to go without an extra arm in the bullpen in the games before the break. Part of it was the bullpen and part of it was, I like the idea of giving Gibson two more starts in a couple home games against a couple good teams."

Molitor added that May took the news in stride, and that he'll be available to pitch out of the bullpen on Sunday.

"Trevor was great last night [Friday] when I told him about it," Molitor said. "We have to decide long-term to see how that works out or if going into a rotation down below would help us in case something happened to one of our guys. So we'll have to decide that as we go along."

Milone's solid outing

Left-hander Tommy Milone essentially beat out May for the final spot, as he's recorded five straight quality starts with a 1.69 ERA over that span. May also profiles better as a reliever as a hard-throwing right-hander with strikeout stuff. Right-hander Mike Pelfrey has struggled a bit recently, but was the club's most consistent starter until his recent scuffles, so he was also able to keep his spot in the rotation.

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