Padres trade Evan Meek for Russell Branyon
Branyan began his career with the Indians
Branyan began his career with the Indians

Posted Aug 24, 2006

The San Diego Padres traded right-handed minor league pitcher Evan Meek and a player to be named later or cash to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for right fielder Russ Branyan.

Russell Branyan was hitting .201 (34-for-169) with 10 doubles, 12 homers and 27 RBIs with Tampa Bay.

In 600 games split between Cleveland, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Tampa Bay, Branyan has hit 105 homers with 265 RBI's while drawing 219 walks and whiffing 659 times.

"San Diego is a great place," Branyan said after learning of the trade. "I know a couple of players over there. They have some quality individuals."

Evan Meek, who was released by the Minnesota Twins last season, was enjoying a renaissance with the Lake Elsinore Storm, the Padres' High-A affiliate in the California League.

He was 6-6 with a 4.98 ERA over 26 games, including 25 starts. Minus two starts where he surrendered a total of 17 runs in two-thirds of an inning, Meek had posted a 3.72 ERA. He walked 62 in 119.1 innings while striking out 113.

"That is our job to give Kevin (Towers) options for the big league level and possible trades," minor league field coordinator Bill Bryk began, "to develop guys to play in the big leagues or give him guys to trade. (Meek) has come from nowhere and done a great job."

A year ago, while playing for the Beloit Snappers in the Twins' organization, Meek walked 36 batters in 18 innings, earning his release. His return to the form is a credit to Padres' pitching coordinator Mike Couchee and the rest of the Padres' pitching coaches that have tutored him this season, including Dave Rajsich and Steve Webber. He was poised to be Comeback Player of the Year for his success.

β€œHe has a lot of potential,” Bryk added. β€œI am real happy for the kid. He deserves a lot of credit for turning around his career.”

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