PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — Relief pitcher Evan Meek, the Pirates’ lone MLB All-Star representative in 2010, has been designated for assignment after a tumultuous and injury-plagued two-year period, the team announced a short while ago.
Concurrently the Bucs have recalled pitching prospect Bryan Morris from Triple-A Indianapolis, and selected the contract of fellow pitcher Rick VandenHurk, while infielder Chase d’Arnaud has also rejoined the big club.
Meek, a 29-year-old right-hander, and a 2007 Rule 5 Draft choice by Pittsburgh, was once being groomed for the setup role held by Jason Grilli, among others, but a season-killing shoulder injury in 2011 and a number of bad outings that followed curtailed his Pirate career.
In 12 appearances this season he pitched just 12 innings, allowing nine earned runs (6.75 ERA), walking six, and striking out eight. He spent most of this season, however, with Indianapolis, going 3-2 with a 2.74 ERA and 1.28 WHIP, fanning 41 and issuing 26 walks through 46 innings.
Ironically, that 2010 campaign, one of the worst in team history, was Meek’s best, during which he went 5-4 with a 2.14 ERA as a middle reliever, striking out 70 and issuing just 31 free passes to earn that aforementioned All-Star nod. Over parts of five major-league seasons he posted a record of 7-7 with a 3.34 ERA and 1.33 WHIP, striking out 144 and walking 90 in 172 2/3 innings.
Morris and VandenHurk, both righties as well, will be looking to make their Pirate debuts this month. Vandenhurk, 27, signed with Pittsburgh as a minor-league free agent at the beginning of the 2012 season after spending brief time with the Florida Marlins and Baltimore Orioles 2007-11. He is 8-10 as a major-league pitcher with a 5.97 ERA and 1.62 WHIP, having struck out 176 and walked 95 in 181 MLB innings.
With Indianapolis, VandenHurk went 13-5 with a 2.92 ERA and 1.19 WHIP en route to the Indians’ postseason run, striking out 113 and walking just 35 in 123 1/3 innings.
Morris, 25, acquired by the Pirates in a 2008 multi-player deadline deal with the L.A. Dodgers, went 2-2 with Indianapolis this year, recording a 2.67 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. In 81 innings he struck out 79 and walked 17.
d’Arnaud, 25, has hit .252 in Indy with a .709 OPS, six homers, and 38 RBI, having played 98 Triple-A ballgames in 2012. The shortstop/third baseman, who was called up recently but did not record an official at-bat at the time, hit .217 with the Pirates in 2011, recording eight extra-base hits, six RBI, a .528 OPS, and a .936 fielding percentage in 48 MLB games.
Stay tuned to your flagship home of the Pirates, SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan, for the latest, as the Pirates Preview Show with Dan Zangrilli and Kevin Orie gets underway at 5:40 Monday evening.