Top Prospects: Alex Meyer, RHP, Twins

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Twins right-hander Alex Meyer lit up the radar gun with his fastball in his Grapefruit League debut against the Rays on Sunday, but he only threw three offspeed pitches in his two innings of work.

Meyer, ranked as the No. 28 overall prospect by MLB.com, gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits with one strikeout. The 6-foot-9 right-hander's fastball reached as high as 98 mph, but he didn't fool too many Rays hitters.

"I felt they were trying to get on the fastball, and that's what I was trying to emphasize today, working on locating my fastball," Meyer said. "For the most part, I thought I did fine with that. The second inning, I was probably starting to get tired and left the ball up a little bit."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was impressed by Meyer's velocity, but the skipper said he wants to see the 24-year-old mix in more curveballs, sliders and changeups his next time out.

"He was pumped up the first time out throwing a lot of fastballs," Gardenhire said. "It's a good fastball, but they can hit fastballs, so you have to spin it, too. All these guys going out on the mound for the first time, you hopefully let them get that out of the way and you go from there."

Meyer is the club's top pitching prospect, but he'll likely start the season in the Minors after posting a 3.21 ERA with 84 strikeouts in 70 innings at Double-A New Britain last year. He said the key for him this season is improving his changeup, which he only threw once on Sunday, getting the Rays' Jeremy Moore to ground out to first base in the eighth inning. Meyer added that he worked on his changeup with special instructor Eddie Guardado earlier in the spring.

"It's tough, because you don't want to go out there and give up any runs, that's never fun," Meyer said. "They were trying to get on the fastball early, so next time, I'll have to mix in a little more offspeed. I threw one changeup and a couple curveballs, but for the most part, it was just fastballs, trying to locate that."

Twins hope Sano can appear in Minor League season

Duquette discusses Twins top prospect Sano's injury

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Twins still haven't scheduled the date for top prospect Miguel Sano's Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, but assistant general manager Rob Antony said Dr. David Altchek is likely to perform the operation.

Altchek, who is the medical director of the Mets, has performed the surgery on several Twins players in recent years, such as pitchers Kyle Gibson, Joe Nathan and Scott Baker.

Sano, who was diagnosed with a high-grade partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament on Saturday, flew home to the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning to see his family. The third baseman had an MRI on Friday after feeling discomfort in his elbow stemming from a throw across his body in Thursday's intrasquad game.

Sano, ranked as the No. 4 overall prospect by MLB.com, is scheduled to return on Friday, and the Twins are hopeful he'll undergo the surgery the week after he returns.

"Ideally, we'd like to set something up next week, but we haven't talked to the doctor," Antony said. "It's probably going to be Altchek, but we haven't talked to him about his availability. That's who they'd like to do it and we have no problems with him."

Sano, 20, is expected to need eight months of rehab before he's ready to play again. But he's expected to be cleared to swing the bat after four months, so Antony wouldn't discount Sano seeing time at designated hitter late in the Minor League season.

Antony also added that there's a chance Sano could play in the Arizona Fall League or the Dominican Winter League if everything goes to plan.

"We're not going to rule anything out," Antony said. "We're not going to rule out DHing at the end of the season if he's up for it. But if there's any risk of irritating it or bothering it, we won't do it. So we'll have to see how he progresses. But that would be the goal that after eight months, he could play some winter ball. But the biggest thing is just having him ready for Spring Training next year."

Florimon may not be ready for regular season

Outlook: Florimon capable of solid power-speed mix

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Shortstop Pedro Florimon, who had his appendix removed on Feb. 17, still hasn't been cleared to perform baseball activities, but he could start ramping up it up this week.

The original diagnosis called for Florimon to be held out of baseball activities for two weeks, and it'll be exactly two weeks on Monday. Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said everything remains roughly on schedule for Florimon, but there's still a chance he might not be ready for the start of the regular season.

"He's getting to the point where hopefully sometime this week he'll start, because we're almost hitting the two-week mark where he can do some baseball activities," Antony said. "But nothing has changed with him. It's going to be close if he's ready to start the season or not. He needs to be in game shape, get some at-bats and be ready to go."

Florimon, 27, will be the club's starting shortstop once he's healthy, but if he's not ready for the start of the season, the Twins could turn to Eduardo Escobar or non-roster invitee Jason Bartlett. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire remains hopeful Florimon will get enough at-bats in Spring Training to be ready, but he said it's still too early to tell.

"He's just doing his thing," Gardenhire said. "The trainers really haven't said a word. There's still no timetable until he starts to move around. But he has some time. It's just a process. Once he starts to go out on a baseball field and does some stuff, then I'll know."

Worth noting

Jason Kubel played left field for the first time this spring against the Rays on Sunday. Gardenhire said he plans on playing Kubel in both left and right field, in addition to serving as designated hitter this spring. Kubel mostly played right field during his time in Minnesota, but he switched to left field when he signed with the D-backs before the 2012 season.

• The Twins are set to test out the new instant replay rules that go into effect this season on Monday at Hammond Stadium against the Blue Jays, according to Antony. It won't be as high-tech as during the regular season, as both clubs will have a walkie-talkie in their dugout to relay to the video crew if they want to make a challenge.

• Right fielder Oswaldo Arcia connected on his first homer of the spring on a solo blast off Rays left-hander Adam Liberatore on Sunday. It was also Arcia's first career homer in Grapefruit League play, as he missed most of Spring Training last year with an intercostal strain.