Top prospect Meyer to have stint in bullpen

Righty struggled as Triple-A starter with 7.09 ERA

Top prospect Meyer to have stint in bullpen

CHICAGO -- Top prospect Alex Meyer is headed to the bullpen at Triple-A Rochester, the Twins announced Friday.

Meyer, ranked as the No. 28 overall prospect by MLB.com, was struggling as a starter, posting a 7.09 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 24 walks in 39 1/3 innings. His walk rate of 5.5 batters per nine innings is a career worst.

"As much as anything, we just want to get him some confidence," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "He's in a rut where he'll pitch well for an inning or two and then struggles. So we're just trying to get him back on track. I think right now, as much as anything, it's a confidence issue."

Antony, though, said the move wasn't permanent, as the Twins are just trying to get Meyer going again. With his 6-foot-9 frame, he has trouble repeating his delivery and the Twins felt a move to relief would help him focus on his mechanics in shorter stints.

"The plan is to get him squared away and get back as a starter," Antony said.

Antony said Meyer took the news well. It'll be his first foray into relief pitching as a professional, as he's made 68 starts in the Minors. If he fares well as a reliever, it could actually accelerate his path to the Majors, especially given his fastball that registers in the high 90s.

"I think he was almost relieved," Antony said. "He's frustrated himself. He's the type of guy who puts a lot of pressure on himself. He feels like he's letting us down. … We just want him to get all that out of his head and just go out and play."

Right-hander Tyler Duffey was moved up from Double-A Chattanooga to replace Meyer in the rotation. He had a 2.56 ERA with 54 strikeouts and 12 walks in 52 2/3 innings. The Twins released first baseman/designated hitter Brock Peterson to make room for Duffey.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.