With mound session, Meek nears return

With mound session, Meek nears return

PITTSBURGH -- Evan Meek was scheduled to throw off the mound on Friday for the first time since being struck in the right hand by a line drive last Sunday. This progress has Meek, who was struck near his pinkie on the back of his hand, eyeing a return in the next few days.

The right-hander has thrown off flat ground each day since Wednesday. The swelling, which was the biggest issue for Meek, has subsided enough to let him grip the ball without much problem.

Though manager John Russell didn't pinpoint an exact return date, he said he expects Meek to be ready to pitch sometime during this homestand. Given that the club still has a seven-man bullpen without Meek available, the Pirates have no intention of rushing the righty's return at the cost of his health.

"Evan is doing well," Russell said. "We'll see how he progresses [on Friday] and see how he comes in [Saturday]. We're [thinking] that he should be back pitching here again sometime soon."