Pirates Notebook: Meek's hand on the mend

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CHICAGO -- Evan Meek was sitting at his Wrigley Field clubhouse stall Monday afternoon, toying with the laptop with his left hand, gripping and flipping a baseball with his right.

"I got very lucky," he said.

No kidding: The back of Meek's pitching hand was struck by a Ryan Braun line drive late in the Pirates' 8-4 loss Sunday in Milwaukee, and he feared a break. But X-rays showed no fracture, and he was left with only a bruise, apparently struck in just the right spot.

By Monday, the swelling had subsided a bit, the bruising was minimal, and the immediate prognosis was that he might resume baseball activity by the weekend. For a second day, no mention was made by management of the disabled list.

"It feels better, no question," Meek said. "I'm just looking forward to getting back out there."

Indian pitcher promoted

Rinku Singh, one of two pitchers the Pirates signed from India in November 2008, was promoted to short-season State College after putting up good numbers in 13 relief appearances for Bradenton of the rookie-level Gulf Coast League: He had a 2.61 ERA, 20 strikeouts and eight walks in 20 1/3 innings.

State College's season ends this weekend, so he will have only a week.

"Rinku has become a solid strike-thrower, has no fear of contact, and the stuff continues to progress," director of player development Kyle Stark said. "He's earned this opportunity. The fact that he's going to get a chance to pitch under the lights reflects favorably on him and our development staff."

Singh, 22, is a 6-foot-2 left-hander and always was seen as the better prospect of the two. In 2008, he won the Indian reality-TV show, "The Million Dollar Arm," by beating out 30,000 entries in throwing the most pitches 85 mph or faster.

The other Indian signee, right-hander Dinesh Patel, had an 8.59 ERA in nine appearances.

Buried treasure

• Manager John Russell said that Chris Snyder "probably" will catch Charlie Morton's next start Saturday in hopes that Morton will not shake off nearly as many pitches as he did Sunday with Ryan Doumit behind the plate. Morton allowed eight runs over 3 1/3 innings, mostly because he never asserted himself with the fastball. Asked why Morton simply was not ordered to throw more fastballs, Russell replied: "A pitcher has to learn to trust what the catcher wants. Charlie did what he felt was right, but he can't have it become a battle."

• It is not official that starter Ross Ohlendorf, on the disabled list with a strained lat muscle, will not return this season, but all signs point that way. Russell noted that, even if Ohlendorf were to heal quickly, he could not make a rehabilitation stint because the minor league season ends next week.

• The bullpen still has seven pitchers, even with Meek unavailable.


Dejan Kovacevic: dkovacevic@post-gazette.com . Find more at PBC Blog .


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