BRADENTON, FLA. – He never has pitched above Class A, so Alex Meyer’s presence in Twins camp is mostly to give him, and his new team, a glimpse of the future.
If he pitches like this, however, it’s not an especially distant future.
Meyer dominated Pittsburgh hitters for three innings Saturday with his fastball and especially with his hybrid knuckle-curve breaking ball, helping the Twins capture their fourth consecutive Grapefruit League road victory, 5-4 over the Pirates at McKechnie Field.
“That was one of the better breaking balls we’ve seen,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said after Meyer gave up one broken-bat single over three innings, striking out three and hitting a batter with, he said, his only really bad curve of the day. “The breaking ball was snapping, and that’s because he wasn’t jumping out there and falling off. He actually had a good line toward home plate, not jumping at it.”
Darin Mastroianni returned to the Twins lineup after nine days spent healing his sore left hamstring, and he collected two singles and an RBI batting leadoff. He was also picked off first by Pittsburgh starter A.J. Burnett, though, and in right field he bumped into center fielder Joe Benson as he tried to catch a fly ball. It fell to the ground for an error that led to the first run Twins starter Cole De Vries had given up this spring, albeit an unearned one.
Brandon Boggs and Eduardo Escobar each doubled and scored as the Twins improved to 9-6 in spring training. But the talk afterward was about Meyer, acquired from Washington in November for Denard Span.
He is pitching so well — having given up only one hit and no runs over five total innings — won’t it hurt when he is inevitably sent down for more experience?
“I’m doing everything I can to stay up here with the big club,” Meyer insisted, “but if people say they don’t think about [roster cuts], they’re lying.”