Meek proving reliable in late-inning spots
BOSTON -- New Orioles reliever Evan Meek has been used in late-inning situations from the get-go, and manager Buck Showalter said he will continue to use the righty as an alternative to setup man Darren O'Day, depending on the matchups and each pitcher's respective workload.
"Evan gives you a different look down there that a lot of right-handers don't bring, especially down there in that bullpen," Showalter said of the non-roster invitee who won the final 'pen spot this spring. "Just glad he's healthy."
Meek and O'Day, along with lefty Zach Britton, had not allowed any earned runs entering Friday, and the 30-year-old Meek could end up being quite the under-the-radar addition for the O's. An All-Star reliever for the Pirates in 2010, Meek had a tear in his right shoulder that slowed his career as he spent all of last season in the Minors.
"I think it was a situation where they wanted to see what they had right away," Meek said of being called upon in big situations early. "What do we have, is he healthy, is he ready to go? Because back with Pittsburgh that's what I did. the late innings. I think it was a no messing around kind of situation. They were like, 'Let's see what he does now. He's 30 years old, he's not 20 years old anymore, let's see if he gets back to where he was.' And I think that worked out for everybody. I'm ready to go at any point, but it's nice to get consistent work at consistent points."
Entering Friday, Meek had thrown seven scoreless innings in six outings, allowing three hits and striking out six.
"If they are going to bite when they are a puppy, they are going to bite when they are a big dog," Showalter said of throwing Meek in the fire. "So you see what happens. Evan, one thing, he ain't scared. He ain't scared. When you go through some of the things he's gone through in his life. He's not going to go out there and be timid. Thats one of the things you like about him and all of our guys down there."
"I know Buck knows guys in the bullpen better than he does me, I know it's definitely a trust factor," Meek said of the later innings. "As long as we can keep consistent, obviously it's a long season and consistency is the biggest thing in the bullpen. You've got to know what you are going to get. And sometimes it's not going to go your way. But how do you bounce back the next day? How do you bounce back two days after?
"I think that so far things have been going well to earn that trust. I'm really enjoying how he's using me and how he's using everyone. And I think everyone would say the same thing."