Meyers will switch to long relief as he begins career with Yankees

Right-hander Brad Meyers was selected by the New York Yankees in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft at the Winter Meetings on Thursday and is looking forward to the new challenge.

“My agent called me at 7 a.m. and woke me up,” Meyers said. “I didn’t know what time the draft would be, but, yes, I was excited.”

After getting promoted mid-season from Double-A Harrisburg Senators, Meyers went 6-5 with a 3.48 ERA last season with the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs, striking out 74 hitters and walking only 15 in 17 games (16 starts). He ended the season on a flurry, tallying 3-2 record with a 2.43 ERA in 10 games (nine starts).

“Last year was good,” Meyers said. “I started to pick up a lot of the game and what hitters are trying to do against you and the running game. It kind of all clicked. I really have to do those things better. I am not going to strike out a lot of guys but I am not going to walk guys either. If I can do the little things right I can compete.”

The Yankees told Meyers they want him to do what he does best, throw strikes.

“I know I don’t overpower anybody,” Meyers said. “But they said (I) know how to get guys out. Just don’t try to do anything different than you have been. Come in here and do the same thing.”

Meyers has nothing but fond memories of the Nationals and there is a possibility he could return to the franchise.

“I have a lot of friends with the Nationals coaches, players and front office,” Meyers said. “Obviously, it is a business and I understand that. It is just a great opportunity for me.”

He said the pitching coaches with the Nationals refined his delivery. It took a few years, but now he has “finally figured it all out.”

Meyers had spent his entire career with the Nationals, dating back to the 2007 draft, where he was selected in the fifth round out of Loyola Marymount.

Growing up in Southern California, he was always an Angels fan, but when he found out the Yankees had picked him, he was thrilled.

“It was a shock,” Meyers recalled. “It is the Yankees. The fact that they wanted me and I have a chance making their team. It is pretty great.”

Although Meyers has been a starter in the Nationals system for the past five seasons, the Yankees have a different plan for him in 2012.

“They want me to throw out of the bullpen, long relief and spot start,” Meyers said. “I am going to have to work on that. That is kind of a big adjustment moving from starter to bullpen, but I will make it.”

Meyers, as a Rule 5 pick, must be kept in the major leagues the entire season or be offered back to the Nationals for half of the selection price.

Outfielder Erik Komatsu was also selected in last week’s Rule 5 draft by the St. Louis Cardinals.

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