Meek looking for a change


Have a happy and peaceful Easter!

The first two games have been taut, one-run affairs and the Pirates have used five of their seven relief pitchers. Evan Meek was not one of them, which perhaps is indicative of how far he still has to go before he’s fully returned to form. “Unfortunately, I’m not in the situation I’d like to be in right now, in terms of pitching later in the game,” Meek told me yesterday. “But, that’s something I can work toward. I can control being prepared to pitch. We’ll have to see where it goes. I’m realistic about my role right now, whether it be coming in to get one out or whatever (Clint Hurdle) has planned. That’s out of my control. All I can do is be effective, get outs and do what I can to help us win.”

As always, Meek will rely on his cutter and breaking ball. He also is trying to add a changeup to his mix and worked on it a bit this spring, but it’s not quite game-ready yet. “It’s good. It can be really good,” he said. “I just need to get into counts where I can throw it and not be hurt by it. Anytime you learn a new pitch, it’s not just about learning how to throw it. It’s about learning when to use it and how it will be effective. I throw it with my warmup pitches in the bullpen. Once I’m in a game, I’ll go with what I feel is best and that’s fastball and breaking ball. Over the course of the year, if I get that pitch down and I read the hitters sitting dead-red (on the fastball), maybe I’ll throw them (the changeup) early in the count.”

»»» Phillies RHP Vance Worley dominated the Pirates in a Grapefruit League game, but overall he had mixed results this spring. “I saw some tape of his next two starts and he didn’t look like the same guy,” Hurdle said this morning. “He had a very good season last year. He competes very well. He does a nice job with the running game. It’s not like you’re going to get a breath of fresh air today facing him. But after (Roy) Halladay and (Cliff) Lee, we’ll take our chances and see what we can do with this guy. He’s good. The left-handed (hitters) know Worley is going to pitch both sides of the plate with the fastball, he’s going to spin the ball and throw that changeup. We’ve got to find a way to back up that changeup and focus on the big part of the field, left-center field for the left-handers, or it could be a long day for some of them.”

»»» Uh oh. Clayton Kershaw is healthy. The Pirates will face the Dodgers’ ace lefty Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Game 3: Philadelphia @ Pirates, 1:35 p.m. ET

Phillies (1-1) – 1. Juan Pierre lf, 2. Shane Victorino cf, 3. Jimmy Rollins ss, 4. Hunter Pence rf, 5. Jim Thome 1b, 6. Ty Wigginton 3b, 7. Freddy Galvis 2b, 8. Brian Schneider c, 9. Vance Worley rhp (season debut)

Pirates (1-1) – 1. Alex Presley lf, 2. Jose Tabata rf, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Neil Walker 2b, 5. Garrett Jones 1b, 6. Clint Barmes ss, 7. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 8. Michael McKenry c, 9. James McDonald rhp (season debut)