Pirates Notebook: Meek to miss a month

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DENVER -- Evan Meek had been, in his words, "just getting to where I wanted to be."

Surely, that was not the 15-day disabled list, where the Pirates placed him yesterday because of a strained left oblique. He will miss at least a month, as he is not permitted any activity with the torso for two weeks, then gradual throwing from there. A return by mid-September seems most likely.

"It's frustrating. It really is," Meek said. "I've had my breaking stuff all year, I had just started to get my fastball velocity and command where I've been working toward. And this happens."

Meek was hurt late Tuesday night, on the final pitch of his lone batter in the ninth inning.

When the Pirates made Meek their Rule 5 draft pick in late 2007, his primary attraction was fastball velocity that could approach 100 mph. Trouble was, he usually had little idea where it was going and, so, struggled mightily in his initial stint last season.

But, after extensive development late last season and in winter ball in Mexico, he harnessed not only the fastball -- with a little zip taken off -- but also a sharp curve, slider and changeup. Then, as this season progressed, so did he: His 3.45 ERA is the best in the Pirates' bullpen, as is his .209 opponents' batting average.

He put the zip back on, too, routinely reaching 96-97 mph in the past two weeks while striking out 16 batters in his past 12 1/3 innings.

"It's good to know that I can do it, that I put it all together," Meek said. "But that's what makes this tough, too."

The Pirates recalled another right-hander, Steven Jackson, from Class AAA Indianapolis to take his place.

Another hard thrower

The Pirates claimed Class AAA reliever John Meloan off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays and assigned him to Indianapolis.

Meloan, 25, is a 6-foot-3, 225-pound right-hander who has made seven major league appearances, none this season. In 35 Class AAA appearances this season split between Columbus and Durham, he had a 5.02 ERA, 52 strikeouts and 27 walks.

"He is an interesting arm that we have liked in prior years," general manager Neal Huntington said. "He has flashed a plus fastball and breaking ball in the past."

To add Meloan to the full 40-man roster, injured reliever Tyler Yates was moved from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day.

Nothing on Capps

Neither the Pirates nor closer Matt Capps have heard from Major League Baseball about his hitting St. Louis' Albert Pujols Sunday, and it is possible no action will be taken.

Buried treasure

• Outfielder Jose Tabata, one of the Pirates' top prospects, has missed Indianapolis' past two games to minor inflammation in his wrist.

• Pitching prospect Bryan Morris, suspended two weeks ago by the Pirates for berating an umpire, rejoined Class A Lynchburg's rotation last night.

• The Pirates signed 19-year-old right-handed pitcher Jarryd Sullivan out of Australia, their 12th international prospect this summer and second from Australia.

• Three State College prospects -- Infielder Brock Holt and pitchers Phillip Irwin and Zach Foster -- were chosen for the New York-Penn League all-star game Tuesday.

Dejan Kovacevic can be reached at dkovacevic@post-gazette.com .


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