FORT MYERS, Fla. -- With the Twins adding Jake Odorizzi and Lance Lynn to bolster their rotation this spring, the club optioned several of their top young pitchers before Tuesday's 7-5 loss to the Orioles, including lefties Adalberto Mejia and Stephen Gonsalves, right-handers Aaron Slegers and Fernando Romero and reliever
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- With the Twins adding Jake Odorizzi and Lance Lynn to bolster their rotation this spring, the club optioned several of their top young pitchers before Tuesday's 7-5 loss to the Orioles, including lefties Adalberto Mejia and Stephen Gonsalves, right-handers Aaron Slegers and Fernando Romero and reliever John Curtiss.
Romero, ranked as the club's No. 2 prospect and No. 68 overall per MLB Pipeline, was sent to Double-A Chattanooga, while the other four were optioned to Triple-A Rochester. Mejia lost his prospect status and his rookie eligibility last year after posting a 4.50 ERA in 21 starts with Minnesota, but Gonsalves is ranked as the club's No. 3 prospect and Curtiss is ranked 21st. Slegers is not among Minnesota's Top 30 prospects.
"The equation changes when you make additions and it has a trickle-down effect on people," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "The moves today made sense even without the addition of Lance to some degree, but you put all those things together when you make those kinds of choices."
• Twins introduce Lynn before stellar debut
Mejia, 24, had the best chance of the group of making the club heading into spring, but with the Twins likely to open with a four-man rotation, he was hurt by the additions of Odorizzi and Lynn to join Jose Berrios and Kyle Gibson. Right-hander Phil Hughes was also sharp against the Yankees on Monday, and the Twins will continue to give Hughes a long look, as he's under contract for the next two seasons and is healthy after a second surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome.
"Any time you get a young pitcher in the room and you tell them they're going to the Minor Leagues, it's tough," Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said. "When you look at where we're at with our depth, we feel like Phil is fully healthy, which is really good to see, and is getting back to where he needs to be. I think him looking good has helped us and we've talked about using four starters out of the gate and for the vast majority of April."
:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::
Romero, 23, had the most impressive spring of the five, throwing eight hitless innings, including three perfect frames against the Rays on Sunday. He'll be stretched out on the Minor League side and is headed back to Double-A, as he's never pitched at Triple-A before.
"He's not unlike Lance in some ways, as a competitor," Falvey said. "He understands where things are. He's somebody we believe has a high ceiling. But we're running out of innings for starters and we need to get guys ready on the Minor League side."
Gonsalves, 23, made two Grapefruit League appearances, allowing one run in 3 2/3 innings, and also threw two scoreless frames against the University of Minnesota. Slegers, 25, saw action in four games, including three starts, and posted a 5.40 ERA in 10 innings. Curtiss, 24, allowed one run in five innings, but walked four, so working on command will be important for him going forward.
Outfielder Zack Granite, competing with Robbie Grossman for the fourth outfielder role, helped his cause by drawing a walk in the second and dropping down a perfectly executed RBI bunt single with two outs in the third to cap a four-run inning.
• First baseman/designated hitter Logan Morrison returned to the lineup on Tuesday against the Orioles after suffering a right glute strain on Wednesday. He flied out to left in his first at-bat, singled in the fourth inning and walked twice.
• Left fielder Eddie Rosario, who has been out since March 4 with triceps tendonitis, will begin his throwing program on Wednesday and will serve as designated hitter on Friday. There's no timetable for his return to left field, but he's expected to be ready by Opening Day.
• Utility infielder Ehire Adrianza, who was out since March 6 with a left calf strain, returned to action on Tuesday, replacing Jorge Polanco at shortstop in the fifth inning. Adrianza went 0-for-2.
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and **Facebook**.