Pirates Notebook: Moskos plans to take it slow
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DENVER -- Daniel Moskos' nature is as outgoing as can be, so it was striking Saturday that, upon realizing what he called "my dream come true" in reaching the majors, the Pirates' first-round draft pick from 2007 seemed somewhat subdued.
"This has always been my goal and, finally it's here," he said in a understated tone. "It's been awesome."
Pressed to show more of his usual personality, Moskos replied, "Honestly, I'm trying to let it all sink in. I am very excited, but I've also got to stay within myself, not let it all speed up on me."
Moskos, a 25-year-old left-hander, was recalled from Class AAA Indianapolis Saturday, taking the bullpen spot of Evan Meek, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of shoulder tendinitis.
It has happened before that the game sped up on Moskos, which might explain his demeanor: When he was promoted to Indianapolis last summer after a strong run as Class AA Altoona's closer, he fell apart after only 19 appearances, posting a 10.38 ERA and walking 20 batters in 17 1/3 innings.
"I had some adjustments to make," Moskos said.
That meant addressing a maximum-effort delivery, the one area scouts long have considered his weakness. He would rear back like a sling shot, seemingly putting every fiber of his being into each pitch. That allowed him to reach 95 mph on the radar gun, but it killed his consistency.
Upon being returned to Altoona, he and the development staff worked on cutting down what Moskos called "that big turn I used to have in my delivery." He worked on that, plus focusing more on his sinker and adding a slide-step to keep runners close, through the spring.
It worked right away: In eight appearances for Indianapolis, he had a 1.69 ERA, seven strikeouts and one walk, with opponents batting .231. That included a two-inning, 18-pitch sequence Tuesday against Norfolk that caught management's eye.
"I took it all right into games with no problem," Moskos said. "It feels like a lot of what I'm doing right now is easier."
Manager Clint Hurdle initially suggested he might go easy on Moskos, then added, "But I said that about Mike Crotta and threw him right into the fire. The gloves are off. If he's here, we'll use him as we need him."
As it turned out, Moskos pitched a perfect eighth inning in the 4-1 loss Saturday.
Meek will leave the team this morning for Pittsburgh, where he will have an MRI on his right shoulder Monday. His placement on the disabled list is retroactive to Wednesday, making him eligible to return May 12, but no plan for rehabilitation will be set until after the MRI.
To hear Meek tell it, he will be back on the first day possible.
"It's not that bad," he said. "I expect maybe we'll find some inflammation, but what I feel right now is that I just need to get my strength back. That's it."
Meek had a 5.62 ERA in 11 appearances, which he attributes largely to a nagging virus that sapped him of strength, including in the shoulder.
"I tried to go out and pitch, and I felt like I was maybe at 75 percent," he said. "This is the best thing, for me to let it rest and come back at full strength."
The Pirates told Meek on Friday that he would be shut down.
"We tried to give it some time," Hurdle said. "Evan's tried everything to remedy this, but he doesn't know from day to day what he's going to have. It's time for him to step away, and he agreed."
• Matt Wieters, the player drafted right after Moskos at No. 5 overall in 2007, has been Baltimore's starting catcher since early 2009 and has a .266 career average with 24 home runs and 114 RBIs.
• Moskos' addition gave the Pirates two left-handers in the bullpen, along with Joe Beimel, for the first time. That had been one of Hurdle's offseason wishes. "I like having that," he said.
• Because Moskos already was on the 40-man roster, one spot remains open.
First Published May 1, 2011 12:00 am