Postgame: Rookie Meyer got his emotions under control
- Blog Post by: Phil Miller
- March 4, 2013 - 4:27 PM
It will wear off soon enough, but Alex Meyer is still getting used to the idea he's a future major leaguer, the peer of all those other players he's heard about. So it's probably understandable that he issued that walk to one of the first hitters he ever faced in a major-league exhibition game.
"I just got a little excited," the 23-year-old Meyer said. "The guy on first base is Matt Holliday. It's a guy I grew up watching on TV. So it's a new experience for me, keeping my emotions down."
He quickly induced a double-play ball, though, showing that even when a little starry-eyed, Meyer has the stuff to retire hitters.
"Fun to watch," manager Ron Gardenhire said approvingly.
Just not fun to hit against. Meyer's fastball looked overpowering, though the pitch-speed scoreboard wasn't working. And "my sinker was coming out well, [getting] a lot of ground balls," he said. "If I get behind somebody, I can throw that and maybe get a ground ball."
Meyer is likely headed for Class AA New Britain this season, but he might not be there long if he pitches like this. With three seasons of college experience, he could rise quickly.
And see a lot more famous hitters, like Holliday.
"As long as you just harness [your excitement], you'll be fine," he said. "I got the first [appearance] out of the way, so that's good."
One other youngster who's having an impressive spring is Aaron Hicks, whose case for skipping Class AAA and coming north with the Twins just keeps getting stronger.
On Monday, he led off the game against Lance Lynn, an All-Star last year, by working the count to 3-2 and then slashing an opposite-field line drive for a hit. A couple of pitches later, he got a big jump toward stealing second on a pitch that Brian Dozier lined to left, and Hicks was quickly on third. He scored a moment later on Trevor Plouffe's sacrifice fly, the first run in a three-run inning.
"That's usually how I hit, make the pitchers throw strikes," Hicks said. "Usually I don't chase pitches [when] the pitchers are trying to nibble."
He took three straight balls from Lynn in his next at-bat, too, then a strike. But on a 3-1 pitch, he swing at Lynn's high fastball and popped it to third.
"He swings at a high pitch. Those are situations where he's got to learn a little bit more about leading off and getting on base, rather than chasing [pitches] out of the strike zone," Gardenhire said. "But other than that, he's doing great."
Never moreso than in the seventh inning, when he turned on a Jason Motte fastball and lifted it over the right-field wall, his first home run while wearing a Twins uniform.
"You just want to stay on his fastball, try to stay away from his off-speed," Hicks said. "He threw me a change-up on the first pitch, then fastball in, fastball in." That last one? Fastball way out.
"He's been real disciplined up there," Gardenhire said. "He's been really good."
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