MINNEAPOLIS-Trevor May knew exactly what he would do with the commemorative baseball from his first big-league victory since July 29, 2016.
"I'm going to keep it for myself," the Twins right-hander said with a satisfied smile before Friday's game.
A day earlier, May walked in a pair of fifth-inning runs in relief of Ervin Santana, but he also got six big outs on a total of 42 pitches to earn the victory. Flashing a mid-90s fastball and working around command issues with his breaking stuff, May preserved an 8-7 lead in what became a 15-8 runaway victory.
"I wasn't the sharpest I've ever been," May said. "You've just got to work one pitch at a time. Strikeouts are a big part of my game. I knew I probably wasn't going to be able to preserve the lead unless I got one."
Still working back from Tommy John surgery in March 2017, May has yet to appear on consecutive days. In fact, since returning to the mound on May 12 in the Florida State League, May has had at least two days off between all but one of his 20 combined outings.
"We all know he needs to do it eventually, especially if he has a shorter outing," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "After a day like (Thursday), it wouldn't be the opportunity to do that."
Despite a 1.35 earned-run average and a nine-inning strikeout rate of 12.2 through six outings, May won't be used to close out games just yet.
"I'm not really looking at that for him right now," Molitor said, while allowing May's stuff has been "probably better than I thought it was going to be."
A return to starting is still possible next season, but the Twins won't make that sort of call until they see where the offseason trade and free-agent markets take them. May is out of minor league options after this season.
"We've been back and forth with him a lot," Molitor said. "I like his value in the bullpen."
Right-hander Michael Pineda, nearly 13 months removed from his Tommy John surgery, is headed to Triple-A Rochester for the final stage of his recovery.
Pineda, the ex-Yankee who is signed through 2019, is slated to make three starts for the Red Wings before the month ends. He will go four innings twice, followed by a stint of five innings or 75 pitches, which will take him up to September roster expansion.
On Thursday in his second start for Class A Fort Myers, Pineda gave up a pair of doubles in three innings of one-run ball. Averaging 93 mph with his fastball, he walked none and struck out one in a 43-pitch outing (30 strikes).
Left-hander Adalberto Mejia, who will be out of minor league options next spring, might not pitch again this season after being diagnosed with nerve irritation in his throwing wrist.
"He's frustrated," Molitor said. "He worked hard to get an opportunity up there, and when he did he pitched fairly well. I don't think there's much they can do right now."
Mejia went 2-0 with a 2.01 ERA in five big-league outings (four starts). Including 14 outings at Triple-A Rochester, Mejia worked just 84 2/3 innings this season, down from 126 2/3 last season.
Still just 25, Mejia could return to the Dominican Winter League for the third time in four offseasons. He made five starts for Gigantes del Cibao last winter despite a 21-start rookie season in the majors, when he was one of six lefties to start at least one game for the Twins.
The last lefty besides Mejia to start a game for the Twins was Dietrich Enns last Aug. 10 at Milwaukee. Jaime Garcia is the last Twins lefty starter to win a game besides Mejia (July 28, 2017).
The Twins took their 2018 team photo with outfielders Byron Buxton and Robbie Grossman down in Rochester. Also not pictured: six veteran pieces traded off over the past three weeks.
Sam Perlozzo, Twins minor league infield and base-running coordinator, is in town this weekend.