Milone rejoins Twins after Triple-A turnaround

Lefty was 4-0 with 1.66 ERA in 7 starts for Rochester

Milone rejoins Twins after Triple-A turnaround

MINNEAPOLIS -- Tommy Milone rejoined the Twins on Saturday after excelling at Triple-A Rochester, and the left-hander will replace lefty Pat Dean in the rotation after Dean was optioned to Rochester.

Milone, who had a 5.79 ERA in five outings with the Twins before he was outrighted to Triple-A on May 7, turned it around in the Minors, going 4-0 with a 1.66 ERA in seven starts. He struck out 41 and walked four in 48 2/3 innings. He'll be available in relief in the short term but is expected to start on Thursday or Friday, according to manager Paul Molitor.

"Obviously, this is the level you want to be at, so it's always good to be back up here," Milone said. "I think I was just trying to be myself again. I was trying to be aggressive and throw strikes. Just trying to be the pitcher that I am."

Milone said he focused on improving his command while at Triple-A, especially after struggling with it early in the season. He walked seven batters in 23 1/3 innings with Minnesota, and only made it past the fifth inning once.

"I think the biggest thing was the walks and the high pitch counts," Milone said. "So I just tried to be aggressive and attack the hitters. It's just a mentality thing. I told myself to go after hitters."

Milone compared the situation to last year, when he was optioned to Rochester in late April and went 4-0 with a 0.70 ERA in five starts before coming back and carrying over that success in the Majors. He posted a 1.84 ERA over his next seven starts after being called up, and a 3.74 ERA in 20 outings the rest of the way to finish the season with a 3.92 ERA.

"It wasn't ideal but sometimes a change of scenery can be a little bit good for you," Milone said. "Hopefully I can repeat last year."

Milone, who is making $4.5 million and went unclaimed when he was placed on waivers in early May, said he harbors no hard feelings over Minnesota's decision and that he just wants to show he's a big league-caliber starter.

"I feel like I belong here," Milone said. "That's what I want to prove."

Worth noting

• Right-hander Trevor May, on the 15-day disabled list with lower back spasms since June 10, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Sunday. If all goes well, he could head out on a rehab assignment next week.

• The Twins held third baseman Trevor Plouffe out of the lineup on Saturday to help clear his head after his recent scuffles. He's hitting .214 with seven strikeouts in his last seven games. Left fielder Robbie Grossman was also out of the lineup for the first time since joining the team on May 19, but it was just a planned day off and a chance to get Danny Santana in the lineup.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. 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.