Barrett Barnes was drafted in the compensation portion of the first round in 2012 by the Pittsburgh Pirates, with the pick they received for losing Ryan Doumit. So far in his pro career, the theme for the Texas Tech outfielder has been hamstring injuries. It has almost been two full years since Barnes was drafted, and he has seen just 374 plate appearances in pro ball, thanks to three different hamstring injuries.
The third one happened on April 6th of this season in West Virginia. That same night, Harold Ramirez also suffered a hamstring injury. Ramirez has been back in West Virginia for a few weeks, while Barnes remains on the disabled list. Since this is his third hamstring injury in two years, the Pirates are being extra cautious in bringing Barnes back.
“It’s not going to be a quick one this time, I can say that much,” Barnes said on his recovery time.
He has made his way back to the field, starting with workouts this past Monday. Barnes told me today that he’s doing everything except playing in games, and that he’s probably a few weeks away from game action. He said that the hamstring isn’t tight or hurting, which is a good sign. Earlier, I reported that Austin Meadows started his on-field work this week, and that he could play some games in the GCL before returning to West Virginia. That could also be a possibility for Barnes.
The nature of the injuries for Barnes have been strange. Each time he’s been hurt, it has been his right leg. There is currently no explanation for why he has suffered three injuries to the same leg in such a short amount of time.
“It’s kind of one of those up in the air things, where it’s a freak accident,” Barnes said. “I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. They’re writing the programs up like they’re supposed to.”
The injuries are unfortunate, as they’re preventing a talented outfielder from developing. Barnes hasn’t had any time to develop at a single level since entering pro ball, leading to poor numbers at each stop. He was also a college hitter when drafted, which means he should be in Altoona by this point, rather than stuck in West Virginia. It will be interesting to see if he gets an aggressive push going forward, due to all of the time he has missed. If he goes to Bradenton by the end of this year, and moves up to Altoona next year, he could start getting back on track.
For now, Barnes will have to hope that this is the last of his injury problems. At some point he needs to get some consistent development time to try and develop his tools and skills. He was a highly rated prospect in the 2012 draft, and he’s still got a lot of upside. The multiple hamstring injuries just raise a big red flag.
Other Injury Notes
**Jose Osuna played seven innings at first base today in an extended Spring Training game at Pirate City. The first baseman is returning from an oblique injury, and could return to the Bradenton Marauders by the end of next week. The typical rehab process for position players is to play two five inning games, two seven inning games, and one or two nine inning games before returning. Today was the first game where Osuna played seven innings. He is expected to play another one this weekend, then a nine inning game on Monday. He could require one more full game, but either way, he should be back with Bradenton by the end of next week.
**Jeff Inman pitched today, making this the second day in a row that he’s made a rehab appearance, and the first time he pitched on back to back days. Inman is returning from Tommy John surgery, which he had almost exactly one year ago. He is expected to join Bradenton shortly. That could possibly be by the start of next week, since pitching on back to back days is the final rehab step for a reliever. Inman was 93-94 MPH with his fastball today. He belongs in Double-A or higher, but will probably take the Ryan Beckman path back from Tommy John. Beckman returned from Tommy John last year and went to Bradenton for 18 innings, before moving up to Altoona.