PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — In an attempt to get reliever Evan Meek more work out of the bullpen, the Pittsburgh Pirates optioned him to Triple-A Indianapolis Monday night.
The Pirates reportedly want to give Meek the opportunity to pitch two-inning outings. They also want him to see him perform in back-to-back games and in late-inning situations, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“I understand what my role is,” Meek told the Post-Gazette. “I understand that, hey, they’re giving me opportunities to get back to where we need to be. We’ve got guys that (manager) Clint (Hurdle) trusts, that (pitching coach) Ray (Searage) trusts, that our team trusts, that I trust, to throw in that seventh, eighth inning with the lead. I’m grateful that we have those guys. I’m grateful that we’ve got good teammates down there that are picking me up and patting me on the back.”
Meek has appeared in nine games and been laregly unimpressive. His 5.59 ERA and .293 opposing batting average in 9 2/3 innings is example enough.
The Pirates are looking at this as more of a rehab assignment rather than a demotion.
As Meek alluded, the Pirates have a good deal of quality arms in the bullpen right now. Guys like Juan Cruz, Jason Grilli, Brad Lincoln and Joel Hanrahan are making it tough on opposing hitters.
Now is probably as good a time as any to get a struggling arm down to the minors to work out whatever problems he’s having.