MIN@PHI: Gibson hurls 2 1/3 frames in spring start

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Former first-round Draft pick Kyle Gibson's comeback from elbow surgery will continue at Triple-A Rochester rather than in the Twins' starting rotation as they had hoped, but general manager Terry Ryan predicted Gibson will be back.

"It's just a matter of time for him," Ryan said. "Hopefully, when we need a person, he'll be the guy we can go get."

The Twins cut six more players Thursday, optioning Gibson and lefty Caleb Thielbar to Rochester and reassigning right-handed reliever Anthony Slama, catchers Kyle Knudson and Danny Lehmann, and infielder James Beresford to Minor League camp.

Gibson, who is ranked the club's No. 4 prospect by MLB.com, underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011. The right-hander might have opened the season as Minnesota's fifth starter if he had been impressive this spring.

Gibson, who had fallen behind the other starters in camp, yielded a run in two innings of relief against the Orioles on Wednesday, raising his ERA to 9.00 over eight innings of Grapefruit League work. Against the Phillies last weekend, Gibson raised eyebrows when he unleashed three wild pitches in one inning.

By going to the minors now, Gibson will have a chance to rebuild his arm strength and could be back in the big leagues and in the Twins' rotation later this year.

"We're going to give him an opportunity to develop," Ryan said. "Hopefully things will go so well at Rochester that he'll get a call to come help us. Nobody likes to get sent out, but I think he understands we're trying to do what's right for everyone involved. Whenever you send guys out, they pretty much dictate their future."

Gibson's departure enhances the chances of Cole DeVries, who was considered a longshot when Spring Training began. The right-hander has turned in seven scoreless innings in four Grapefruit League appearances. DeVries (2-0) is holding opponents to a .087 batting average and is scheduled to start against the Pirates on Saturday at 12:05 p.m. CT.

After breaking two ribs, Swarzak returns to mound

MIN@TOR: Swarzak limits damage with double play

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Anthony Swarzak, who broke two ribs in a freak accident in January in what general manager Terry Ryan previously labeled "horseplay," threw off the mound in the bullpen before Thursday's game against the Red Sox.

"He's progressing," Ryan said. "It's encouraging. It's that time in the rehab process."

Swarzak, who threw the fifth-most innings (96 2/3) on the Twins' staff last season, will probably start the season on the disabled list.

Neither Swarzak, who will be arbitration-eligible next offseason, or the Twins has revealed how the pitcher injured himself.

"I put myself in this situation," Swarzak said. "Nobody put me in this situation. It was me, and I am paying for it."

"He's at a point in his career where it's important he now move forward and not backwards," said Ryan. "We need to get him out there. The kid's talented. He's got stuff."

Pelfrey looks past rough start against Boston

MIN@BOS: Pelfrey hurls three shutout frames vs. Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mike Pelfrey shrugged off Thursday's two-inning shellacking at the hands of the Red Sox.

"The best thing I can say about today is that I walked off the mound feeling good," he said after what ranked as his worst performance of the spring. "I walked off feeling strong. I felt like I could have thrown another 30 or 40 pitches."

Last Friday vs. Boston, Pelfrey scattered two hits and fanned five over three shutout innings. On Thursday, he struggled through two innings, allowing five runs on six hits.

"I was all over the place today," Pelfrey admitted. "I didn't make a lot of quality pitches. I fell behind in the count a lot, but you're going to have days like this. I got my work in. Unfortunately, it was two innings instead of four or five."

Pelfrey, who signed with Minnesota as a free agent in December, underwent Tommy John surgery on May 1, 2012. He spent last season as the Mets' No. 4 starter before he was sidelined with a swollen elbow after three starts.

"People bring it up all the time, but I feel like I've never had surgery," Pelfrey said. "I feel great. I think I've been blessed in this whole process."

Worth noting

• Catcher Drew Butera and first baseman Chris Colabello, who played with Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic, rejoined the Twins on Thursday.

"They didn't hurt themselves at all," said Ryan. "I'm interested to see what they do here."

Colabello batted .333 with two homers and seven RBIs in five games, while Butera played in four Classic games and hit .188.

• Ryan said Thursday's decision to send left-hander Caleb Thielbar to Triple-A Rochester was based "more on command and control than anything else."

"It's up to him, how close he is," Ryan added. "He dominated at Double-A last year. Now he's ready for Triple-A."

• Ryan admitted right-hander Anthony Slama, who was reassigned to Minor League camp on Thursday, "struggled" this spring, posting an 11.57 ERA in three relief appearances.

"It was a battle," Ryan said. "He's got to get some innings. He's got to start throwing the ball over the plate."

• The Twins were happy to see injured Scott Diamond (elbow) throw to hitters before Thursday's game.

"That's a good sign," Ryan said.

Last season, Diamond started a team-best 27 games.

• Beresford, who played for Australia in the World Baseball Classic and has hit just one homer in 2,113 regular-season at-bats as a pro, homered against the Orioles Wednesday night.

"I think that was the second home run in his life," said Ryan.

"He's not the fastest guy and he doesn't have the strongest arm, but he finishes plays," said Ryan.