The Twins have liked Mike Pelfrey for several years while he was pitching for the New York Mets.

Now they are on the verge of announcing a deal for the 28-year-old free agent, who underwent ligament replacement surgery in May, and they expect him start the season on time.

Although Pelfrey has been throwing well during the offseason, the Twins plan to bring the right-hander along slowly in spring training.

They view Pelfrey's recovery process similarly to that of right-handed prospect Kyle Gibson, who had the same surgery in September 2011 and threw well this fall for the Peoria Javelinas in Arizona.

Pelfrey started just three games last season (0-0, 2.39 earned-run average) for the Mets and struck out 13 in 19 2/3 innings before undergoing surgery.