Twins option Meyer to Triple-A

Reliever moves to Rochester as E. Santana returns to rotation

Twins option Meyer to Triple-A

KANSAS CITY -- The Twins optioned top pitching prospect Alex Meyer to Triple-A Rochester after Friday's 3-2 loss to the Royals to make room for right-hander Ervin Santana, who returns on Saturday from his 80-game suspension for the use of a performance-enhancing drug.

Santana isn't scheduled to start until Sunday, but has to be activated once his suspension is up on Saturday. He's already in Kansas City and will officially rejoin the team before Saturday's game. The Twins have yet to announce whether Santana will replace a starter in the rotation or if they'll go with a six-man rotation heading into the All-Star break.

Meyer, ranked as the No. 23 overall prospect by MLBPipeline.com, struggled in his first taste of the Majors as a reliever. The 6-foot-9 right-hander posted a 16.88 ERA in two outings, giving up five runs on four hits and three walks.

"He didn't get a chance to pitch very often here, but it was a good experience for him to see the pace and what goes on here and how the other guys do their work," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I think he learned from his two appearances on the mound. The kid has a great attitude. I think he has a very bright future. The fact he transitioned to the bullpen and got up here in a month is pretty impressive."

He fared much better as a reliever in Triple-A with a 0.53 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 17 innings after being moved out of the rotation. The hard-thrower had a 7.09 ERA in eight starts before being moved to relief. The Twins still think it's just a temporary move, since they still see him as a starter in the long-term, but Molitor said he recommended Meyer remain in the Rochester bullpen for now.

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.