Last Call from the Desert: Evan Meek, Kyle McClellan
Wrapping up the Friday…
“One of the advantages of being old is that these guys are kind of forced to listen to you even if they want to or not. In the baseball totem pole, I’m right at the top and I’m enjoying it and I relish the role of being able to try to bring a team together. It’s not one guy. You can’t rely on one guy to do that.”
Designated hitter Lance Berkman
They are the only two Rangers relievers that can say that while Joakim Soria and Neftali Feliz work their way back from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. Meek would like to have one more thing in common with Nathan. He would like to be on the Opening Day roster as a member of the Rangers bullpen.
“I feel the Texas Rangers are a good fit for me but there’s still a lot that has to be done,” Meek said. “I feel like the Rangers did a great job of bringing guys in. There are guys with a lot of talent in here. It’s a matter of going out and performing.”
Meek was 5-4 with a 2.14 ERA in 70 games for the Pirates in 2010, earning him a spot in the All-Star Game. That was quite an accomplishment for a well-traveled pitcher who was originally drafted in the 11th round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft out of Bellevue (Wa.) Community College and made his Major League debut in 2008 with the Pirates.
The Twins released him in 2005. He was signed by the Padres and traded the following year to the Rays. The Pirates took in the 2007 Rule 5 Draft and worked out a deal with the Rays to keep him. He pitched well for the Pirates in 2009-10 but developed shoulder inflammation and tried to pitch through it. He was not successful.
“That tore my arm down and everything with it,” Meek said.
He has spent the past two seasons trying to recover and it has been a long process. The Pirates tried to outright him to the Minors but Meek refused the assignment, became a free agent and signed with the Rangers. Meek said he is in camp 100 percent healthy, making him one of the more intriguing candidates for a bullpen spot, especially if he can pitch like he did 3-4 years ago.
Rangers manager Ron Washington watched Kyle McClellan throw batting practice and was impressed with what he saw. Said Washington, “He’s got a lot of movement in the strike zone and a lot of movement outside the strike zone. Natural movement.”
Lance Berkman talking to a group of reporters about his speed: “If a grizzly bear ran in this clubhouse, could I get away from it? Absolutely. I could probably beat you guys out. All I have to do is be faster than one of you guys.”
Yu Darvish threw live batting practice on Friday against a group of Minor League hitters. He was the latest pitcher to face Minor League power-hitting prodigy Joey Gallo. Darvish left one in the middle of the plate and Gallo hit a one-hop rope off the right-center field fence.
Josh Hamilton on being in Tempe with the Angels: “It is the first year in five years we haven’t lived in Surprise. It’s just one of those things we are excited about. I love Texas. It’s a great organization, I had a great time with them, but now I’m an Angel and I know where I need to be everyday. Excited to be here. Excited to meet the guys, excited to get to know them and win some ballgames.”