Gonsalves, Romero wrap up impressive camp

Twins' top pitching prospects head to Minor League Spring Training

Gonsalves, Romero wrap up impressive camp

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins made their first roster moves of the spring on Monday, including sending their top two pitching prospects, Stephen Gonsalves and Fernando Romero, to Minor League camp.

Left-handed reliever Mason Melotakis, who has yet to pitch in a game this spring after suffering a strained oblique before camp, was also optioned to Triple-A Rochester, while right-hander Felix Jorge and left-hander Randy Rosario were optioned to Double-A Chattanooga and right-hander Aaron Slegers was reassigned to Minor League camp. Romero, who is on the 40-man roster like Melotakis, was optioned to Chattanooga.

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"Those guys all handled themselves really well," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Gonsalves had a nice go until he had a little bit of the flareup there. Slegers came even better than advertised for me. I heard a lot of things about [his] makeup, but the way he threw the ball was good. Melotakis unfortunately didn't get to show us too much. But Romero is a real confident kid we still think has potential as a starter."

Gonsalves, ranked as Minnesota's No. 2 prospect and No. 92 overall by MLBPipeline.com, impressed this spring, retiring 10 of the 11 batters he faced, with three strikeouts. But he hasn't pitched since March 3, as he's been dealing with minor soreness in the back of his left shoulder.

Top Prospects: Romero, MIN

Gonsalves is expected to open the year with Rochester or Chattanooga. The lefty went 8-1 with a 1.82 ERA in 13 starts at Double-A last year after a promotion from Class A Advanced Fort Myers.

Romero, ranked as Minnesota's No. 4 prospect, also turned heads this camp, tossing three scoreless innings with two strikeouts and a walk. Romero showed off his plus stuff, hitting as high as 98 mph with his fastball. He'll open at Double-A for the first time, as he had a combined 1.89 ERA between Fort Myers and Class A Cedar Rapids last year.

Melotakis, ranked as the club's No. 21 overall prospect, had a 2.97 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 33 1/3 innings last year and is considered close to being Major League ready. The hard-throwing lefty will open at Triple-A.

Slegers, at 6-foot-10, was hard to miss this spring, and made four relief appearances, allowing two runs in 2 2/3 innings. He posted a 3.41 ERA in 25 starts at Chattanooga last year, and will open at Double-A or Triple-A.

Rosario (No. 27 prospect) threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings this spring and will remain a reliever this year after moving to that role last season. He posted a 3.77 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 100 1/3 innings between Fort Myers and Chattanooga last year.

Top Prospects: Jorge, MIN

Jorge (No. 9 prospect) only made two appearances this spring, allowing two runs while recording two outs, but will remain a starter after compiling a 2.69 ERA across Fort Myers and Chattanooga last year.

"Felix didn't get a chance much, but he's someone we think highly of," Molitor said. "Rosie got more of a chance to pitch, and this is the first year he'll be starting out of the bullpen. So he's just figuring out his routine. But we all see he has a lot of potential, too."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.