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Pitching prospects may contribute down stretch

Angels would like to take a look at Meyer, Smith in September
MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- The Angels will add September callups to the roster in waves, starting Friday and continuing when Triple-A Salt Lake's regular season ends on Monday. Two players expected to be summoned to the Majors are pitching prospects Alex Meyer and Nate Smith.

The organization wants to get a good look at both of those young arms over the final weeks of the regular season.

ANAHEIM -- The Angels will add September callups to the roster in waves, starting Friday and continuing when Triple-A Salt Lake's regular season ends on Monday. Two players expected to be summoned to the Majors are pitching prospects Alex Meyer and Nate Smith.

The organization wants to get a good look at both of those young arms over the final weeks of the regular season.

Meyer starts Thursday night for Salt Lake, but his next appearance could come with Los Angeles. The right-hander is building his pitch count, and he threw 41 pitches on Saturday with Class A Advanced Inland Empire. Acquired in an Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline deal with the Twins, Meyer is the Halos' No. 12 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com.

"He's a guy I think we would like to take a look at," said manager Mike Scioscia. "But I think we have to wait until he's at a certain level, and he has to probably at least get to a 75-pitch range before you can consider taking a look at him."

General manager Billy Eppler said the organization is having internal discussions about whether to use Meyer as a starter or reliever in the Majors this year. Scioscia doesn't think pitch count would be an issue, because the club will have enough arms with other callups.

"We're going to have enough pitching where you're not going to be so concerned about a starter's length as you would be in April, May or whatever it may be," Scioscia said. "We'll have enough arms up here to where we'll put him in the best role, or the role that the organization feels is best to take a look at him."

Meyer was a first-round pick (No. 23 overall) by the Nationals in the 2011 Draft out of the University of Kentucky, and he was dealt to the Twins the following year for Denard Span. Meyer made his first big league start on May 3, striking out four and allowing three runs on three hits in 2 2/3 innings against the Astros. He missed time with shoulder inflammation in June.

"I think big arm, power breaking ball, nice delivery," Scioscia said. "All the positives that made him a top pick in the country a couple years ago. Hopefully he's back on track."

Smith, the club's No. 5 prospect, has been the best starter with Salt Lake. The left-hander is 8-8 with a 4.55 ERA in 25 starts, with 121 strikeouts and 43 walks in 148 1/3 innings. Smith showed improvement in August, going 1-0 with a 1.83 ERA over his past three starts. He's not yet on the 40-man roster, but Los Angeles has room for him.

Video: Top Prospects: Nate Smith, LHP, Angels

The Angels haven't publicly commented on who all of their callups will be. Rosters expand Thursday from 25 to as many as 40 players through the conclusion of the regular season. The club returns to action Friday in Seattle.

"We know who is coming up, and there might be a couple decisions still open to next week to see how we go and what's happening with our guys on our roster," Scioscia said.

Tim Lincecum is one candidate to rejoin the team after being optioned to Triple-A on Aug. 9. Lincecum is 0-1 with a 6.28 ERA in three starts since being sent down.

Additional pitchers on the 40-man roster currently in the Minors include: A.J. Achter, Cody Ege, Greg Mahle and No. 8 prospect Victor Alcantara.

First baseman/outfielder Ji-Man Choi is a good bet to be added from Triple-A next week. He was optioned to Salt Lake on Aug. 21 to get more at-bats. The Halos might add another catcher for depth, and Juan Graterol is a 40-man-roster player with Salt Lake.

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Angels, Alex Meyer