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Pirates demote Meek, complete opening day roster

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, April 3, 2009
 

BRADENTON, Fla. — The Pirates this morning finalized their opening day roster by choosing reliever Jesse Chavez over Evan Meek.

Meek was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis.

This spring, Meek, 25, put up better stats than Chavez. However, Meek has not pitched in two weeks since being sidelined by a sore shoulder, flu-like symptoms and bronchitis.

"Ultimately, logic won out over emotion," general manager Neal Huntington said. "Even threw the ball very well — good velocity, good stuff, good command — and he'd gotten good results. That was tough to walk away from.

"But he hasn't gone back-to-back (outings) yet and hadn't gone multiple innings yet. He hasn't really faced (a tough) lineup yet. Jesse has."

Chavez, 25, had a 11.45 ERA in 13 appearances this spring. In 11 innings, he allowed 18 hits and seven walks and struck out 15.

"The key for me now is, don't rush," Chavez said. "Stay nice and calm and relaxed."

Chavez pitched in 15 games for the Pirates last season, and went 0-1 with a 6.60 ERA.

Meek, a Rule 5 pick last year, pitched in seven games this spring and had a 3.48 ERA. He was clearly stunned by the decision.

"This is brutal on my end," Meek said. "Ever since they sent me down last year, I've been doing what I did this spring — at Double-A, Triple-A, Mexican (Winter) League. In my opinion, I was one of the best guys here at the start of spring, but that doesn't matter."

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