Austin Meadows to Have Surgery, Jung-ho Kang Increases Fielding Work

BRADENTON, Fla. – Austin Meadows was hit in the face last week after a ball deflected off another player’s glove and skipped up, hitting him below the eye. He saw Dr. Randall Beatty in Pittsburgh this week, who confirmed that the outfielder had suffered a fracture of his orbital bone. Meadows will undergo surgery later this week or early next week, according to Pirates’ Head Athletic Trainer Todd Tomczyk. As for a potential return, there is currently no timetable until after the procedure.

“Once the surgery happens, we’ll have a better idea,” Tomczyk said.

I talked with Meadows last week, before he went to Pittsburgh. His vision was fine at the time, and he had some bruising below his eye, while wearing a protective lens.

Here are the other updates from Tomczyk:

**Jung-ho Kang’s goal this week is to change directions on the field with the glove. This is an increase from his fielding work before, when he would mostly stand still, field balls, and throw to first. He’s not there yet with running the bases, which is usually the final step in a player’s rehab before he can return to games. As for his recover, Tomczyk had a lot of praise for his rehab approach.

“I’ve been fortunate to be around a lot of professional baseball players,” Tomczyk said. “By far, Jung-ho is probably the most diligent, the hardest working player that we’ve had the pleasure of working through rehab. He continues to make strides every single week and every single day.”

**Nick Kingham continues his mound progression that I reported on last week. Tomczyk said that the typical timeline for this is 2-3 weeks, but said it’s different for each player. Kingham said last week that he expects to be throwing twice a week for six weeks.

**Cory Luebke will get into his first Spring Training game later this week.

**Robert Zarate, who has elbow soreness, is throwing off flat ground.

**Antoan Richardson will be playing in a Triple-A game today at Pirate City.

  • Anyone else see the story about the Adam LaRoche retirement that came out today? It’s bizarre.

      • Somehow the most annoying part of that for me is his insinuation that the Sox are at fault in a big way.

        He goes from an attention whore to judgemental without really pausing. Such a not incredibly terrible thing for CHW to ask for from a player.

        • I mean, what’s a DK hot take without a heaping serving of righteous indignation?

          Not only does the extent to which LaRoche brought his kid around (weeks off school? really?) seem completely unprofessional, you can almost guarantee that players said something to Williams in order for him to bring it up. And I don’t blame them one bit.

          LaRoche is by all accounts a great guy and I applaud him for the decision to hang it up, but let’s not make this out to be anything more than a guy who’s career was over for all intents and purposes choosing to be with family more than dedicate himself to the game.

          • Ditto.

            You know Williams is sitting somewhere today really happy to be rid of that contract all things considered.

      • How did that even make it on MLBTR?

        I report actual news days ahead of everyone else and it doesn’t make it on MLBTR.

        • But did you cryptically imply said news may be of scandalous nature a day before actually reporting it? You know how news works in 2016, Tim.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    March 16, 2016 3:48 pm

    Nicasio was very impressive today, Hughes and Caminero were AWFUL. I have never been a huge Hughes fan, although he was very good last year. Caminero is so inconsistent, which is why he can never be a closer although he can throw triple digits. Last year he was up and down most of the season, then was very strong down the stretch.

    • As a guy who solely relies on batted ball luck, wouldn’t be surprising to see Hughes regress to his peripherals. His sort of extreme GB/low K reliever seems to have a shelf life, ie Jim Johnson/Brandon League/Ryan Webb.

      Also not sure if Caminero is as inconsistent as he is just simply too hittable. Straight fastball with no deception, nothing but hard secondaries.

      • The key for Caminero is sequencing. The secondary stuff is really good, but he has to use it unpredictably. He gets in a habit of trying to only use it for out pitches, and that’s when guys start sitting on the fastball and mashing it.

        When he’s using the secondary stuff early in the count, it keeps guys off his fastball. His best stretches last year, that was the common thread. His worst stretches, he was first-pitch fastball almost every at bat.

        There’s still enough velocity separation to make it work, but the action on his cutter/splitter is enough to fool guys. Then they’re not ready for the hard, flat one.

  • Tweeted the Meadows to have surgery to Tim on Monday. Guess he doesn’t trust me as a reliable source since it took two days to share the news.

    • I had a lot of people telling me different things. Someone said he had surgery already. A few others were saying he needed surgery. So I just waited for the injury update today.

      • I would’ve done the same thing in your shoes. I didn’t expect you to break a story based on my tweet.

        The only reason I knew about it is because I live in his hometown and heard it from a reliable source.

  • Ho hum day for Nicasio.

    • Sitting outside with wife and grandson listening to Buccos. Like what I’m hearing. I do realize it’s early, but still sounds good.

    • 10 K’s in 4 innings. You gotta wonder if he’ll do enough to win a spot in the rotation over Vogelsong.

      • I wouldn’t hold my breath Kozy. Vogelsong will have to pitch his way out of rotation, and that won’t happen in March.

      • Seems unlikely they’d boot Vogelsong from getting any starts, but i could see a strong ST from Nicasio allowing a short leash on Vogelsong.

        With a seemingly useful option behind him, Vogelsong could be yanked if he throws out 2-3 eggs in his first 4-5 starts. Obviously we’d like to avoid that.

        • Aren’t they paying Nicasio more than Vogelsong… He has way more upside and GMNH has stated Nicasio is getting stretched out as a starter.

          • I agree with all of that, i just see PGH giving Vogelsong at least 3-5 starts to prove he’s gone. Allowing Nicasio to be a functional long relief man and still be ready for starting roles in the first month or 6 weeks if needed.

            Sort of a hedging of bets all ways. Vogelsong with the chance to be good enough, with a backup plan in place that also can throw 3 innings anytime Vogelsong or Locke peters out.

            I will predict Nicasio is a regular in the rotation by the time Kang returns though.

            • Still wonder if Nicasio has enough to turn a lineup over three times. I could see him being the type that excels in a long relief role where he can air it out and not enable a manager to stack the lineup with lefties.

              • I think long relief allows him to be the bridge for Vogelsong/Locke at times. I think Vogelsong can go 1-2 times through an order without total implosion, and Nicasio can step in for another turn through with good results.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    March 16, 2016 12:23 pm

    Thank you for these updates….I feel badly for Meadows, sounds like he is going to miss 2-3 months minimum, since we are talking about the eye area and it will need complete and total protection until its 100% healed. Hopefully, he will be back by the 4th of July and will have a strong second half. Obviously, this increases potential opportunity and at bats for guys like Ramirez, Osuna, Barnes, Escobar, etc.
    It also doesn’t sound like Kang will be back anytime soon, since he is just now starting to test his lateral movement. If he’s back in Pittsburgh by May 1, I will be happy….
    This is a very important year for Kingham and Holmes – will they return to be top starting pitcher prospect status or something less? It may take more than 1 year to answer that question….

    • Nice post BuccosFan. Very refreshing.

      • You, sir, are great at giving compliments. 😉

      • Refreshing how?

        • Like the way beer feels when it touches your lips.

          • Is that an Old School reference? That really depends on the beer. Dogfish Head Burton Baton or Victory Golden Monkey… yes, very refreshing. Budweiser or Miller… I don’t accept when it’s free.

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        March 16, 2016 3:44 pm

        Refreshing? How? I have entered many similarly positive posts, but most people selectively don’t remember them – they just remember when I am critical or negative – which is mostly directed at the Pirates management, not individual players.
        Plus, I have complimented Tim, John, and others more than once on what I think fo their site and their efforts in covering the team.
        Now, if none of the above is what you were referring to – then never mind! 🙂

        • Okay Bucco…..I see your point, and I did allude to you being negative. I to get frustrated with management, but also see the small market thing. With this front office, the Pirates may not win a WS in my time left (69) to see it, but they will be competitive for quite some time. Again, your negative remarks are your opinion, and that’s still something that everyone deserves.