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Meyer strong in return to Rock Cats
Twins prospect allows one hit over five scoreless innings
08/24/2013 11:55 PM ET
Alex Meyer has struck out 94 batters over 74 1/3 innings this season.
Alex Meyer has struck out 94 batters over 74 1/3 innings this season. (Kevin Pataky/MiLB.com)

The Minnesota Twins got good news out of New Britain on Saturday night as Alex Meyer looked as sharp as ever in his first Double-A game in almost three months.

MLB.com's No. 35 overall prospect allowed one hit and two walks while striking out five over five innings in the Rock Cats' 2-0 blanking of the Bowie Baysox.

It was Meyer's first Eastern League outing -- and just his fourth game overall -- since going on the disabled list in early June with a shoulder injury.

"It was a pretty good night for me," he said. "I felt like the first couple innings, I was pretty excited and I walked the first guy in the first and second inning. But after that, I settled down.

"It felt like I had the world lifted off my shoulders. It was just a little inflammation and tendinitis, but when you're on the disabled list, it's never good. But it feels good and I feel like I'm back to 100 percent now. I had a scare there for a little bit when I didn't know what was going on, but the rehab guys did a great job getting me back to health."

The 23-year-old right-hander worked around a leadoff walk and two-out single in the opening inning, then rolled his second double play in as many frames to erase another walk in the second. After that, he set down the final 11 batters he faced.

Meyer hit 100 mph on the radar gun at Prince George's Stadium several times and used a fastball combination to keep the Baysox off-balance. He only threw one changeup but said he plans to throw it more in his next start, which will be his final outing of the season.

The Twins' third-ranked prospect, selected 23rd overall in the 2011 Draft, threw 37 of 59 pitches for strikes. He was on a five-inning or 75-pitch limit, whichever came first. It's unclear whether he will be stretched out on Thursday, but Meyer expects the team to keep him on a tight leash, considering the nature of the injury and the recovery time.

"That was the scary part," Meyer said of the injury. "I didn't feel anything when I was pitching [on June 1], but I woke up the next morning and it was sore, it just hurt. It was just something I had to go through that I had never gone through before. [The organization] gave me all the time I needed."

In late July, Myers began a program in Florida in which he made 20 throws a day. He started at 90 feet and gradually progressed to 100, then 120 feet. The training staff also gave him weight strengthening exercises and band work to both build shoulder strength and decrease the possibility of a similar injury in the future.

Acquired in November in the trade that sent Denard Span to the Nationals, Meyer pitched in his first game in more than two months when he allowed a run over 1 2/3 innings for the Twins' Gulf Coast League affiliate on Aug. 9.

The 6-foot-9 Indianapolis native made two more rehab starts with the Rookie-level team, working three two-hit innings on Aug. 13 and striking out nine batters over three scoreless frames on Monday.

What made Saturday's start even more special was that Meyer's father, Dave, was seated directly behind home plate.

"He drove nine hours to come watch me from Indianapolis," Meyer said. "He's a road warrior. He hasn't seen me play much this year. He said it didn't matter how far my first start [back from the DL] was, he would come and watch me.

"I just told him that when I was warming up, I better not go two innings and reach my pitch limit for the night. I wanted to give him something to watch."

Meyer wasn't the only one who put on a show for his dad.

One night after going 5-for-5, Twins No. 5 prospect Eddie Rosario had a pair of hits and scored twice. Cole Johnson allowed two hits and a walk over two innings and Dakota Watts struck out four over two hitless frames to record his eighth save.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AshMarshallMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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