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.”