Meek Is Bucs All Star

Evan Meek

Right-hander Evan Meek was named the Pirates' All-Star representative on Sunday afternoon.

Meek, 27, has a 0.98 ERA that is the lowest in Major League Baseball, and his 37 appearances lead the staff, but his status as a middle reliever rather than a closer could have hurt him. Meek became the Pirates' first middle reliever chosen since the "closer era" began with saves became an official stat in 1969.

Not since Mace Brown was named to the 1938 All-Star squad have the Pirates been represented by a reliever who wasn't used primarily to close games.

"It's surprising," Meek said. "A lot of starters and closers go to the game. I've always said there are a lot of great middle relievers out there who deserve to go to the game. I think they're overlooked a little bit. It's amazing to be selected, an overwhelming feeling."

The All-Star Game will be played July 13 at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, Calif.

Meek was the only Pirates player selected by Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. That means that Andrew McCutchen, who entered the day ranked in the top four among all NL outfielders in batting average, stolen bases, hits and runs scored, came up empty in his bid to also be a first-time selectee.

The Pirates have been represented by only one player in 14 of the past 17 All-Star Games.

Meek was taken by the Pirates in the 2007 Rule 5 Draft, and though Meek didn't stick on the big league roster for all of the '08 season, Pittsburgh was able to work out a trade with Tampa Bay to retain the right-hander.

"I struggled, I was sent down (to the minors) and then called back up — that's all part of it," Meek said. "I'm just trying to get better every day."

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