Evan Meek Feels Like He’s Back to 2010 Form

Evan Meek – Photo by Mark Olson

Evan Meek arrived to the Pirates clubhouse on Saturday afternoon about an hour before the club was set to take batting practice and work on infield drills. The right-hander flew from Toledo, Ohio, where the Triple-A Indians were playing the Mud Hens. The Pirates placed right-handed reliever Juan Cruz on the disabled list and recalled Meek for his third stint in the Majors this season.

“It feels great,” Meek said of being back in Pittsburgh. The right-hander was greeted by the guys in the clubhouse with high fives. “I hope that obviously Cruz is okay. This team is doing really well. I’ve been watching them. It’s just great to be here and be a part of it in any way I can. Whether it’s eating innings or getting outs. Just good to be back here.”

“Seeing where the team is now, it’s like, God, I want to be a part of that. Just want to win with these guys because it’s such a good group of guys. Just excited to be here and do what I can.”

Meek’s overall numbers in Triple-A have been good. He has a 2.21 ERA in 27 innings, with a 7.4 K/9. There is some concern with his 5.6 BB/9 ratio, as control has always been an issue with the right-hander. His velocity has improved from earlier in the season, although it’s not fully back to the 2010 form.

“I talked with [Triple-A Manager] Dean Treanor today,” Skipper Clint Hurdle said. “They see movement. The fastball command has been good down in the zone. The ball is cutting. He’s still throwing his breaking ball as well. He’s been pitching well for them.”

“I trust our men down there with what they see, the work they do. We felt it would be an appropriate time to get him back in here and get him in the mix.”

“Just pitching. Just getting consistent work,” Meek said. “I’ve pitched a lot. I feel great. Just pitched that seventh and eighth inning role and doing what I did here when I was healthy. It feels good to be healthy and feel right.”

During the 2010 season, Evan Meek was dominant. His 2.14 ERA over a career-high 80.0 innings in the big leagues earned him his first All-Star nod. The right-handed reliever struck out 70 batters over his 70 appearances and heading into spring training in 2011, Meek was being considered at the time along with Joel Hanrahan to be the Pirates closer.

In 2011, Meek battled several injuries and made two trips to the disabled list with right shoulder tendonitis. Meek tossed just 20.2 innings last year but spent the offseason getting healthy and in better shape then he had been in his career.

Meek worked hard to gain back his All-Star velocity, when he was hitting 96, 97 regularly on the radar gun. He struggled during Spring Training and put up a 7.59 ERA in 10.2 innings early in the season, while seeing a velocity in the low 90s. The club decided to move him to Triple-A in order to regain his form. Meek said prior to the game that he feels like he’s back to the way he was pitching back in 2010.

“I feel like I’m back to where I was, back to where I was in 2010,” Meek said. “There’s no pain. I feel good. Just throwing strikes. Velocity is better. I’m just ready to go.”

“We’re going to get him out there. He has been stretched out to two innings,” Hurdle said of Meek’s role with the big league club. “We’ve got a pretty good eighth inning guy right now, a pretty good ninth inning guy so we’ll use him in front of that.
I don’t have any hesitation in using him when we feel or need to be appropriate.”

With Meek getting the opportunity to prove him that he is healthy, Juan Cruz is taking a step back from the game to allow his right shoulder to get some rest and treatment. Cruz was placed on the DL with right shoulder inflammation and said he’s been feeling discomfort since before the All-Star break.

“It’s been bothering me since the All-Star break,” Cruz said. “We’ve been doing treatment and everything. It wasn’t too bad, but we’ve doing treatment and it hasn’t gotten any better…I saw the doctors yesterday before the game and they said it didn’t look too good, not too bad but he didn’t want to take a chance.”

Cruz tossed a scoreless 0.2 innings his last trip to the mound on the 17, but hasn’t appeared in a game since. The right-hander walked two in the frame and overall has a 2.61 ERA over 31.0 innings.

“The last time I pitched, I felt tender in my right arm. I talked to them and they gave me two days and after that it didn’t feel too good.”

Cruz said it was the first time since undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery on May 12, 2010 that he had felt discomfort in his pitching shoulder. He only appeared in five games with Kansas City that season.

“Everything was okay after that (surgery),” Cruz said. “But the last couple days it didn’t feel too good. I don’t think it’s anything bad. We decided to shut it down now.”

“I think he pitched with a little discomfort, as many of the guys do prior to that,” Hurdle said.”Some are able to work through it. He’s worked through it at different times in his career. We wanted to continue to keep him in play. At this particular point in time, we decided it would be best to just back him away and get him some rest before it became more problematic.”

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

Exploring the Arsenal – Anibal Sanchez

Next Story »

Prospect Trends — Week Ending 7/22

Latest Analysis

  • Keller Supak Hinsz

    Even With the New Draft Rules, the Pirates Are Still Loading Up on Projectable Pitchers

    23 hours ago

    From 2008-2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent a lot of resources on projectable pitchers out of high school. So far, this approach has led to breakout performances from ...

    Read More
  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    2 days ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    3 days ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    4 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    6 days ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    1 week ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    1 week ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    1 week ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    2 weeks ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Cody Dickson is a lefty with the upside of a middle of the rotation starter. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

    The Mental Adjustment that Led to Cody Dickson’s Dominant 2014 Second Half

    2 weeks ago

    Trusting his stuff and not trying to do too much — that has been the key for left-handed pitcher Cody Dickson so far in his professional baseball ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles

    More