BRADENTON, Fla. – Austin Meadows had surgery to repair an orbital fracture on Thursday, the Pirates announced today. Meadows will be out for 6-8 weeks after the procedure. This would mean that Meadows won’t make his 2016 debut in Altoona until around early to mid May.
Missing the first month of the season isn’t a huge blow for the young outfielder, as the Pirates have all the time in the world to develop him. They have Andrew McCutchen under control through the 2018 season, and have Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte under control beyond 2018. So Meadows could spend the next three seasons in the upper levels of the minors, and he wouldn’t be needed as a starter until 2019.
He could be used as depth prior to that, in the event of an injury, but that’s not happening this year. The earliest that might happen would be the middle of next season, after he has some time in Triple-A. One month isn’t going to impact that timeline.
This is an unfortunate situation for Meadows, as you never want to see anyone get injured. The good news is that it won’t impact his future with the Pirates at all.