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Lindblom, Meek zeroing in on roles in bullpen


SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Veteran relievers Josh Lindblom and Evan Meek had nearly identical linescores over the weekend. Lindblom pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts against the Dodgers on Saturday, and Meek did the same against the Padres on Sunday. The only difference was Meek gave up a hit.

Overall, the report that was given to manager Ron Washington -- who was in Las Vegas -- was that both threw the ball well.

"Very encouraging," Washington said.

The Rangers are hoping one or both can step up as right-handed setup relievers and help solve their unsettled bullpen situation. Trying to identify the makeup of the Opening Day bullpen is the biggest issue in camp, and Lindblom and Meek both know it's time to show something.

"Really in every Spring Training, I've only been concerned with two things: if the ball feels good coming out of my hand and if I'm healthy," Lindblom said. "Early in the spring, you are working on things, but now is the time to lock in your focus and start replicating game situations, because on Opening Day you don't just flip the switch on."

Lindblom, who was acquired from the Phillies in the Michael Young trade, has made 101 relief appearances in the past two years and has a 3.31 ERA with opponents hitting .227 off him. Meek was an All-Star reliever for the Pirates in 2010, when he had a 2.14 ERA and opponents hit .185 off him. Two years of injuries curbed his effectiveness, so he signed a Minor League deal with the Rangers in the offseason.

He came to camp healthy, and now there are 10 days left before the Rangers leave town. The Rangers want to see something, and Meek believes he can show it.

"I'm right where I want to be," Meek said. "If you look at the overall picture of Spring Training, it's really a process. It's for pitchers and hitters. The more games you get into, you find your release point, you find your pitches and you find your consistency. Right now, it's more about staying consistent in my approach and letting my stuff continue to progress."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"event":["spring_training" ] }
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