SARASOTA, Fla. – Evan Meek is having a hitless spring, and that’s a good thing. Meek is trying to make the Orioles, and he only has a minor league contract. But he’s made a huge impression.
In six innings, he’s yet to allow a hit or walk. His only base runner was a hit batsman.
“Everything’s progressing nicely now,” Meek said. “I keep improving every outing, so I’m ready to go.”
Four years ago, Meek was an All-Star with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The right-hander had a 2.14 ERA in 70 appearances.
He hasn’t been close to that since, and didn’t pitch in the major leagues last year. This year has given him hope.
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“In watching what the stuff is doing, reading some of the swings, getting ahead of the hitters, being able to execute two-strike pitches. That’s what I was able to do when I was pretty successful. Stuffwise, it’s back,” Meek said.
When Meek was with the Pirates, Orioles bench coach John Russell was his manager. He recommended Meek to the Orioles.
“JR saw me when I was at my best. He knows when I’m right. He knows when I’m not right. He probably knows me better than anybody because I played under him for three years,” Meek said.
“That’s a nice thing to know, that you have someone who knows what he’s looking for. You’ve still got to perform. You still have to go out and get outs and show that you can be a reliable, consistent arm. In a way, it does help that I can go to him and say, how’s that look? What do you see?”
Manager Buck Showalter likes what he’s seen out of Meek so far.
“He’s intriguing. He’s had a good camp from day one. He has two or three people who’ve been in the fire with him who knows what it looks like when it was and how close that is now,” Showalter said.