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Twins consider moving pitching prospect Alex Meyer to bullpen

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With the signing of Ervin Santana, the Minnesota Twins hope they have addressed some of their starting pitching needs. But they still have a couple of big questions remaining.

First, how do they address the needs in their bullpen? And now with Santana in the mix, what do you do with top prospect Alex Meyer?

Let's start with the second question first.

Now that Santana is on staff, the Twins hope to have at least four spots in the rotation locked up.

Phil Hughes had a great season last year and will join Santana at the top of the Twins rotation. Kyle Gibson was 13-12 with a 4.47 ERA proving he could be effective and Ricky Nolasco was inked to a big money, long term deal before his 6-12 mark last year, so he'll also be in the mix.

That leaves just one starting spot for Mike Pelfrey, Tommy Milone, Trevor May and Meyer. History would show that Pelfrey or Milone would be the favorites to get the job out of Spring Training.

But in a 1-on-1 interview with KSTP, Twins manager Paul Molitor mentions that there is talk the Twins could look to move Meyer to the bullpen.

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According to 1500 ESPN's Derek Wetmore, the move could make some sense.

"The hard fastball and slider combination is impressive to watch in person. But Meyer walked his fair share of batters last season, an average of 4.42 walks per nine innings at Triple-A Rochester.

If he still needs work on the changeup, it could make some sense to have the 6-foot-9 righthander operate out of the bullpen. But it's fair to wonder if further developing the changeup ultimately could make him a starter who belongs at or near the top of a rotation."

Starting a highly-touted pitching prospect in the bullpen at first, isn't something new for the Twins. Twins Daily notes they handled both Johan Santana and Francisco Liriano in similar fashion.

As for Meyer, he told Twins Daily that he'd have no problem making the switch to the bullpen.

 "If I can have half the career that Liriano or Johan Santana had, I don't think I'll be too upset about that. In all seriousness, I trust our coaching staff and our front office and what their decisions are. If they want me to go to the bullpen, and they think it would benefit the big league club, then absolutely, I'd be all for it."

While the decision hasn't been made, Molitor notes it is one thing they are talking about as the team prepares for Spring Training.

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