Rehabbing Meyer: 'Licking my chops to get back out there'

June 11th, 2022

JUPITER, Fla. -- Before unleashing his 30th and final pitch on Saturday morning, Marlins No. 2 prospect Max Meyer let the hitter know what was coming by shouting: fastball! Moments later, the radar gun flashed 97 mph -- his fastest pitch of the session.

Sidelined by right ulnar nerve irritation since May 18, Meyer faced batters for the first time during a sim game on a backfield at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex. Barring a setback, he anticipates another bullpen session and a rehab start before rejoining Triple-A Jacksonville.

"Felt good," Meyer told "I was just trying to get out there and get my stuff dialed in. Obviously, first time with hitters in a couple of weeks, and I felt good. My arm feels good. My body feels good, so I feel like I'm ready to go."

Rehabbing an injury is unfamiliar territory for MLB Pipeline's No. 28 overall prospect, who had never missed time in his collegiate or professional career aside from once rolling his ankle at the University of Minnesota. Meyer first noticed something on May 6 against Memphis. At the time, he had a 1.72 ERA with 39 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings through six starts.

But it had become tough to play catch, and the organization bagged both of his bullpen sessions between starts. Over Meyer's next two outings, something clearly wasn't right. He surrendered 14 runs with five walks and five strikeouts in 8 1/3 frames. Following his May 17 start, he was shut down from throwing, then re-evaluated a week later.

"I'm glad it feels good now, and it's just mentally you don't have to worry about how it's going to feel every pitch on the mound," Meyer said. "You don't have to manipulate your mechanics and all that stuff. So it's a game-changer, just mentally feeling way better on the mound, just being you out there."

Prior to the injury, Meyer had been furthering his development and drawing closer to his first MLB callup. He increased his fastball usage, throwing it to both sides of the plate. He felt comfortable turning to his changeup in any count. His slider was still elite. While Meyer dislikes being away from his teammates and competing, the rehab process has still allowed him to get work in. That hasn't stopped him from "licking my chops to get back out there."

In the time that Meyer has been out, Triple-A rotation mates Edward Cabrera and Braxton Garrett have been recalled and slotted into the big league rotation. Both are on the 40-man roster. Meyer is not.

"I felt like I was almost there, but now I feel like my perspective has changed a little bit," Meyer said. "Whenever I'm going up, that's what it's meant to be and it is what it is. I've just got to keep taking care of my stuff every day. Who cares what other people say if I'm going up, if I'm staying there? Doesn't matter to me. I'll get my shot, and I'll be up there for a long time."