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Pirates option Presley to Indianapolis

| Wednesday, May 16, 2012, 3:54 p.m.
Christopher Horner
Pirates left fielder Alex Presley was optioned to the minors on Wednesday Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Pirates' Alex Presley reacts as he walks back to the dugout after striking out during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011, in Chicago. The Cubs won 6-3. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Christopher Horner
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review Reliever Evan Meek was a National League All-Star with the Pirates in 2010.

WASHINGTON — A week ago, Alex Presley lost his grip on a starting job. He also lost his roster spot Wednesday and was sent to Triple-A Indianapolis.

“It's just not happening for him,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “It's tough and he's disappointed, but Alex understands the importance of going down, getting his work in and getting back.”

Reliever Evan Meek was recalled from Indy and was in uniform last night against the Washington Nationals.

Even though Presley was the Opening Day left fielder, the demotion was not a surprise.

Presley was stuck in an 0-for-14 funk and had just three hits in his past 34 at-bats. Overall, he batted .220 with seven RBI and a .246 OBP.

Hurdle tried to take pressure off Presley by dropping him in the batting order in the previous two games. Presley batted sixth and seventh against the Miami Marlins but produced a walk, a strikeout and five grounders.

“It didn't spark him,” Hurdle said.

There are other guys in the lineup who are struggling, in some cases worse, than Presley. But Presley is still a kid with a short major league track record, a low price tag and minor league options to burn. Hurdle said Presley still figures in the team's long-term plans but right now needs to play every day at Indy.

Yamaico Navarro, who started in left field last night, and Nate McLouth figure to share the starts in left.

Meek was recalled to shore up the bullpen. The Pirates needed relief help last night in case left-hander Erik Bedard was unable to pitch deep in his first game back after suffering back spasms.

Also, relievers Brad Lincoln and Chris Resop were unavailable in order to avoid overwork.

Meek was sent down to Indianapolis on April 30 after posting a 5.59 ERA in nine outings.

He pitched in four games for Indy, tossing six scoreless innings and allowing two hits, walking two and striking out five.

“I definitely feel that I'm back on track,” Meek said.

Meek might not be back with the Pirates for very long, though, as his arrival gives the team eight relievers and makes the bench short-handed.

“When we feel that we're back in a good place and the rotation is stabilized, we'll make (another) move,” Hurdle said.

Rob Biertempfel is a reporter for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com.

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