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Pineda, May make progress in TJ recovery

Both righties could return to mound in 2018
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins right-handers Michael Pineda and Trevor May, who both underwent Tommy John surgery last year, said Saturday at TwinsFest they're continuing to rehab without any issues or setbacks.

Pineda, who had the operation in July and signed a two-year deal worth $10 million this offseason, threw on flat ground at 60 feet for the first time since the surgery on Thursday and is hopeful to make his return late in the season. May, who had his surgery in March, is ahead of Pineda and could return by May or June.

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins right-handers Michael Pineda and Trevor May, who both underwent Tommy John surgery last year, said Saturday at TwinsFest they're continuing to rehab without any issues or setbacks.

Pineda, who had the operation in July and signed a two-year deal worth $10 million this offseason, threw on flat ground at 60 feet for the first time since the surgery on Thursday and is hopeful to make his return late in the season. May, who had his surgery in March, is ahead of Pineda and could return by May or June.

"Everything is good," said Pineda, who will throw again on Monday in Tampa. "It's a long process. We'll be working hard to get back and recover 100 percent and be on the mound pretty soon. It's a long process but it feels great when you're taking the ball, throwing [for] the first time."

Video: Falvey discusses Twins' acquisition of Pineda

Pineda, who turned 29 on Thursday, has never appeared in relief in his five-year Major League career with the Mariners and Yankees, but said he'd be open to appearing in that role if it means he'll be able to contribute in September. The Twins expect him to be a part of the rotation in 2019, but would love to have the righty available down the stretch, and coming back as a reliever might be an easier way to pitch this season.

"I'm focused on my rehab and trying to help the team, so whatever decision they make, I'm OK with that," Pineda said. "The only thing I want to do is help the team so if it means the bullpen, I'll do it."

May, who has experience as both a starter and a reliever with the Twins, will be stretched out to start just like last year, when he suffered a torn right ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow in March. May, 28, won't be ready for the start of the season and is likely to open the year in extended Spring Training before starting his Minor League rehab assignment in April.

Video: Alston breaks down Twins' rotation, bullpen for '18

"I'm itching to compete again," May said. "It's something I've thought about a lot recently."

TwinsFest tidbits 

• Hall of Famer Rod Carew, who underwent a heart transplant in December of 2016, has been doing well with his recovery and participated in a question and answer session with Jim Kaat at Target Field on Saturday. Carew will head to Spring Training again this year and is encouraging fans to get their hearts checked to prevent heart disease.

Video: Carew discusses best ways to develop Twins

• Reliever J.T. Chargois, who was limited to just two appearances in the Minors last year with elbow issues, started throwing again in early January and plans to throw his first bullpen session in early February before heading to Spring Training. He could be a bit behind other relievers once camp opens, but is expected to be ready for the start of the year.

• TwinsFest closes early on Sunday at 2 p.m. to accommodate fans wanting to watch the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.

Minnesota Twins