MINNEAPOLIS -- After Thursday's 9-5 loss to the Yankees, their fifth in a row, the Twins designated right-hander P.J. Walters for assignment to make room for right-hander Mike Pelfrey, who will be activated from the disabled list.
"Somebody was going to have to go," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We like those guys out there. P.J. has thrown some pretty good ballgames for us. He actually pitched pretty well. He had a couple of rough starts in a row, and [Wednesday] was a good start. He kind of ran out of gas, ran into a block there at the end … but he's thrown good for us."
When Pelfrey initially went on the disabled list, on June 23 because of a sore back, the Twins brought up right-hander Kyle Gibson. But Pelfrey was quickly on the mend, making a rehab start for Class A Cedar Rapids on Monday, signaling to the Twins that there would soon be an odd man out.
Walters started Wednesday's 3-2 loss to the Yankees and gave up three runs on four hits in five innings. He struck out three and walked three in defeat, dropping his record to 2-5. In his two previous starts, Walters worked a combined 3 2/3 innings, allowing 12 runs on seven hits. His ERA over those two games was 29.45.
Mastroianni takes another step toward return
MINNEAPOLIS -- Outfielder Darin Mastroianni said on Thursday that his left ankle is continuing to improve and he's set to leave for the Twins' Spring Training complex in Fort Myers, Fla., on Sunday.
Mastroianni, on the 60-day disabled list with a left ankle stress reaction, will continue to do his rehab work in Florida until he's ready to start a rehab assignment. But he said there's still no official timetable for his return.
"I'll be starting basically a mini-Spring Training," Mastroianni said. "I'm not ready to play in games, so it's going to take a little while to get my legs underneath me and get into playing shape. Hopefully it won't take too long and I can get rocking and rolling, but we don't know how the ankle is going to react. It just depends on when I get in that first rehab game. We'll play it by ear."
Mastroianni has been taking batting practice at Target Field for the last week and said he's continued to notice an improvement in his ankle.
"It's not so much a concern about the swing right now," Mastroianni said. "It's just more about how it feels and if there's pain on the weight transfer. But it feels good right now. Each day has gotten a little bit better with that."
More patient Arcia bumped up to No. 3 spot
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins rookie outfielder Oswaldo Arcia has been swinging a hot bat recently, and he was rewarded by being moved up to the No. 3 spot in the lineup against the Yankees on Thursday.
Ron Gardenhire wouldn't say that it'll be a permanent move to the three-hole for Arcia, but the Twins manager has liked what he's seen from the 22-year-old. Arcia entered Thursday hitting .289 with six homers and 25 RBIs in 51 games.
"I just went over it with my coaches, and without [Ryan] Doumit playing after catching nine innings last night, I just thought Arcia is a swinger," Gardenhire said. "He's not afraid to let it fly. He's not worried about where he's hitting."
Arcia said he's simply feeling more comfortable in his second go-round in the Majors, as he was first called up on April 15, then optioned to Triple-A Rochester on May 25 before being recalled again on June 11.
"I feel better being here the second time," Arcia said through translator and Twins bullpen coach Bobby Cuellar. "I went down to Rochester and tried to see more pitches. I was swinging early in counts when I was up here, so I really worked hard at seeing and taking more pitches."
Patriotism celebrated at Target Field
MINNEAPOLIS -- With a special salute to the military and mascot T.C. sporting a beard and star-spangled top hat, mimicking the likeness of Uncle Sam, the Twins celebrated the Fourth of July in Thursday's series finale with the Yankees at Target Field.
Both New York and Minnesota sported special hats with stars filling in their respective logos. The Twins' wore a white hat with a red bill, featuring stars filling in the T.C. initials. The Yankees wore gray caps with a black bill.
Prior to the national anthem, all current military personnel and veterans in the crowd were asked to stand and receive recognition for their service, and the Target Field crowd greeted them with a lengthy ovation.
The Twins kicked off the holiday celebration on Wednesday night with a postgame fireworks display for the sellout crowd.
Just before the teams took the field on Thursday, fans were treated to Fourth of July-themed highlight reels from Wednesday night's game and Kyle Gibson's victorious Major League debut, as well as the Twins' introduction video.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. Kelly Erickson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.