Two years ago Evan Meek was an All-Star, but yesterday the Pirates demoted the 28-year-old right-hander to the minors after he allowed runs in four of nine outings to begin the season.
To call Meek a former All-Star is technically correct and also fairly misleading, since even in that 2010 season he was basically just a good setup man who got the nod as the Pirates’ representative.
However, it’s also worth noting that his performance early on this season was hardly disastrous enough to warrant a demotion to Triple-A at age 28 and with five years of big-league experience under his belt.
He posted a 5.59 ERA in 9.2 innings, but had a solid 6/1 K/BB ratio and Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that his velocity has risen recently after Meek missed much of last season with injuries. Deserved or not Meek took the demotion in stride, saying all the right things and talking about how the Pirates “are giving me opportunities to get back to where we need to be.”
Cubs closer Brandon Morrow has been out since the All-Star break with a bone bruise and biceps inflammation. In recent days there had been hope that he would be activated in the season’s final two weeks in order to be ready for the playoffs, but that’s not happening: Theo Epstein just said that Morrow is done for the season.
It’s not the first time good expectations for Morrow’s recovery were not met. When he was placed on the DL back in July manager Joe Maddon said he didn’t anticipate Morrow being on the DL for much more than the minimum 10 days. Two months later and here we are.
Morrow, 34, had an excellent season until the arm trouble started, saving 22 games with a 1.47 ERA and a 31/9 K/BB ratio in 30.2 innings. Once he went out the closer’s duties fell to Pedro Strop. Now Strop too is out for at least the rest of the regular season and likely more due to a hamstring strain he suffered last week while running the bases.
Bullpens become a lot more important in the postseason. The Cubs’ bullpen is becoming thinner.