Meyer makes adjustment to avoid injury

Angels prospect will compete for rotation spot

Meyer makes adjustment to avoid injury

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Manager Mike Scioscia was asked Sunday if any pitcher had stood out to him during the previous week's bullpen sessions at Tempe Diablo Stadium. It didn't take him long to produce a name.

"I think Alex Meyer is a guy that worked very hard with [Minor League pitching coach] Matty Wise on some performance-based exercises that he's brought in," Scioscia said. "He looked really good, and we obviously want him to maintain it."

Meyer, who was acquired with Ricky Nolasco from the Twins in exchange for Hector Santiago and Alan Busenitz at last summer's non-waiver Trade Deadline, is expected to compete for the fifth spot in the Angels' rotation this spring. The 6-foot-9 right-hander was a first-round Draft pick in 2011 and was once considered one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, but he saw his stock dip after struggling with shoulder problems.

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In an effort to prevent future shoulder injuries, Meyer worked to alter his delivery over the offseason at the Angels' request. Meyer, 27, said the modification will help quicken his delivery and put less stress on his shoulder.

"The best way to put it is that my delivery is kind of sped up a little bit," said Meyer, who is ranked the Angels' No. 11 prospect by MLBPipeline.com. "Just to kind of get the timing right so I don't put too much stress on my shoulder and keep going down the same road that I've gone down the last few years.

"I worked with [pitching coach] Charlie Nagy and Matt Wise in trying to figure out something that we can do mechanically, because I've gotten hurt two out of the last three years. There's not been, thankfully, anything structurally wrong. I haven't had surgery or anything like that, but that kind of shows that you're probably throwing the ball the wrong way. You're doing something that your body is not reacting well with."

Meyer is still adjusting to his new delivery, but he said he's been happy with the results it has yielded so far.

"It's definitely getting better every time I go out," Meyer said. "It's kind of hard to re-teach yourself exactly how to do it when you've been doing it for so long, but for the most part I feel pretty good with it. My bullpens have been good. My arm feels great. It's just going to be something that we're going to continue to keep doing. I feel confident in it."

Meyer showed flashes of his potential in a brief callup with the Angels in September, recording a 4.57 ERA with 24 strikeouts and 13 walks over 21 2/3 innings.

"I think Alex is still defining himself as a pitcher," Scioscia said. "I think he is working hard to develop the consistency that he needs. It's not just throwing strikes, but it's using all his pitches, getting a consistent release point. There are a lot of things that in the evolution of the pitcher are important that he's made some great strides in. He threw some games last year where you just see the talent. Hopefully he can harness it. And if he does, this guy is going to be a really good Major League starting pitcher."

Scioscia added that the Angels view Meyer as a starter, meaning he'll start the season in Triple-A Salt Lake if he's unable to earn a spot in the rotation. Meyer will be fighting against a long list of candidates for the fifth starting spot, most notably Jesse Chavez, Bud Norris, JC Ramirez, Manny Banuelos and Yusmeiro Petit.

"That's what Spring Training is all about," Meyer said. "Every single year there's always a position battle. You know you're going to go in there and nothing is going to be given to you. And that's fine. That's how it should be."

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.