Since Terry Ryan reassumed his role as the Minnesota Twins' general manager in November 2011, his first order of business has been trying to upgrade their pitching staff.
And though they'll have to wait a few years to see the full return on the moves they, they've had a sneak peek this spring.
J.O. Berrios, whom the team took with a sandwich pick in last June's draft, and Alex Meyer, who came to the Twins in the December deal that sent Denard Span to the Nationals, have both been impressive in early work this spring. The right-handers combined to throw four shutout innings in a recent 'B' game against the Boston Red Sox.
Neither player is on the Twins' 40-man roster, and neither has pitched in an official spring training game yet. But both have hard fastballs and the kind of solid breaking stuff that should put them at the front of the Twins' rotation in future years.
"Meyer was really impressive," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It was the best performance for him down here. So we got our work in and the pitchers got some innings in."
In addition to Berrios and Meyer, the Twins recently added right-handers Vance Worley and Trevor May in a deal with the Phillies, and used high draft picks on right-handers Luke Bard, Mason Melotakis and J.T. Chargois. The Twins have put an emphasis on acquiring young, hard-throwing pitchers, in hopes of replenishing a starting rotation that had the second-worst earned-run average in the majors last year.