Austin Meadows was sidelined for half a season with hamstring issues, but showed off some strong hitting in West Virginia when he returned.

Austin Meadows Has Started Doing On-Field Work This Week

During the first week of Spring Training, Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Austin Meadows pulled his hamstring rounding first base. The initial expectation was that he would be out through the month of April, making the jump to West Virginia in early May.

Meadows suffered a setback as he was starting to make his way back on the field. While running the arches of the bases, he injured his hamstring at a spot that was lower than the original injury. Meadows had an MRI, and ended up having to go through the same process as before, sitting on the sidelines and resting the injury.

“It’s been a pretty good progression. No setbacks or anything like that the second time,” Meadows told me today. “I’m on the field now, and getting close to games.”

For the past three days, Meadows has been on the field, doing some hitting, throwing, and work in the outfield. He’s progressing his way back to games, which will come after he starts taking live batting practice. There’s no specific timetable for his return, although it doesn’t seem like the return will be in the next few weeks.

There is only a week remaining in extended Spring Training, which doesn’t leave much time for rehab. Meadows told me that he expects to do some rehab work in the GCL before making his way back to West Virginia. The GCL schedule starts on June 20th, although that doesn’t mean Meadows will be playing on that date.

Meadows said he has never had a history with hamstring injuries, other than tightness here and there. That’s good to hear, as it seems that some players are just prone to constant hamstring injuries. Unless this happens again, I’d chalk this up to one hamstring injury, with a setback, rather than a long-term concern for the outfielder.

At the most, Meadows will probably only spend two months in West Virginia this year. That’s somewhat disappointing, since he was picked as a potential breakout prospect this year. However, it’s not going to impact his progression with the Pirates in the long run. They’ve got Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, and soon Gregory Polanco, to make their outfield of the future. Those three are in Pittsburgh through the 2018 season. Meadows could return to West Virginia for the entire 2015 season, then go a level per year, which would put him on pace to make the majors in 2019 as the replacement for McCutchen. It’s unlikely that he will need a level per year pace.

For now, Meadows is hoping to make it soon to West Virginia.

“Hopefully I’ll be up there soon, helping the team to get some wins.”

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • deacs

    Oh man. I bet as Tim was writing this article he was thinking “maybe this’ll shut em up.” The only reason I didn’t post a daily question about Meadow’s status is because every day someone would beat me to it. Any chance he could play half a year in WV and then half a year in WV and half a year in Bradenton in 2015?

    • Tim Williams

      I was thinking “this will break the site”.

      Based on what happened with Josh Bell (missed most of 2012, went to WV for a full season in 2013), I could see Meadows spending the entire 2015 season in West Virginia. The only way that doesn’t happen is if he destroys in West Virginia, forcing a promotion.

      • deacs

        Well, like you said – no real hurry. It’s just fun to see these guys climb the ladder.

  • IC Bob

    Its good to see he is out of witness protection. It will be interesting to see how he fares come July in WV.

  • R Edwards

    Any word on Barnes??

    • Lee Young

      You mean when he is NOT injured?

      :) :) :)

  • Lee Young

    I’d rather he take it r-e-a-l slow than rush back.

    • Monsoon Harvard

      Maybe he could get a cow’s hamstring sewn onto his own to give it extra stability. You know, I recall when I was a kid in the 70’s that there was a common rumor going around that Gene Simmons of Kiss (dont get me wrong, I’m not a kiss fan) had a cow’s tongue sewn onto his own to make it so long. So it could be possible!

  • Chris

    This is one of the more disappointing aspects of this season. When Polanco is called up, when the draft is over, and when Meadows is playing full-time (hopefully) then this season will feel like it is in order….if we get back to at least .500 ball too.
    Tim thanks for the update!

  • freddylang

    Hopefully Meadows can get 250 AB or so and have a solid season. He still has a chance to get 4 times as many AB as Bell in 2012.

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