FORT MYERS, Fla. -- There has long been a division within the Twins organization on whether left-hander Glen Perkins is better suited for a starting job or a relief role.
For now, Perkins will be a starter -- at Triple-A Rochester. The Twins optioned Perkins as their lone cut of camp Sunday.
Perkins, who had been in the running for either a rotation spot or the Twins' long relief role, was 1-2 with a 7.50 ERA in seven spring appearances -- including two starts. He gave up three runs on four hits in the eighth inning of Saturday's 6-3 loss to the Cardinals.
"We decided that the best thing for him and the ballclub is for him to start stretching out and pitching," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Whether he's going to be a starter or a bullpen guy, it's all irrelevant right now. What we need to do is have him pitch. That's what he is going to do down there -- start. We made that clear."
Perkins pitched a total of just 48 innings last season -- including just 28 2/3 innings at the Major League level -- due to a strained muscle near his left shoulder. Because of Perkins' limited time on the mound, the Twins wanted him to stretch out as a starter this spring even with the uncertainty about his future role.
The decision to send Perkins down now was a combination of some up and down performances, along with the club's feeling that he just needed to get more innings.
Gardenhire said Perkins was a little frustrated by the news, as expected. But the skipper said that's not necessarily a bad thing.
"I want him to go down there and pitch with an attitude," Gardenhire said. "That's OK, too. He's a good pitcher, he has a bright future. But he needs innings, and that was the explanation [to him]."
The decision to have Perkins start at Triple-A also means that the Twins will go with one left-hander out of the bullpen to start the season. Perkins had been the only left-hander remaining in camp other than Dennys Reyes.
In addition to optioning Perkins, who posted a 3.14 ERA in 19 relief appearances last season, the Twins traded outfielder Garrett Guzman to the Washington Nationals in exchange for a player to be named. Guzman had been selected by the Nationals in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft this past December, so now Washington will not have to offer Guzman back to the Twins if it decides not to keep him on its 25-man roster.
There are 34 players left in Twins camp.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.