Austin Meadows Suffers Eye Injury, Kingham Throws Off the Mound

BRADENTON, Fl. – The Pittsburgh Pirates announced that Austin Meadows suffered a right eye injury yesterday during workouts. The initial tests revealed an orbital fracture, but due to swelling around the eye, he will need to be re-evaluated early next week in Pittsburgh.

Meadows was hurt after getting hit in the face playing catch. There is a lot of swelling right now, which is delaying further evaluation. Pirates’ Head Athletic Trainer Todd Tomczyk said that it’s too early for a timeline for his return, and that going off previous similar injuries (i.e. A.J. Burnett) wouldn’t necessarily be accurate.

“Every injury is its own identity,” Tomczyk said. “Everybody is an individual, and we’re still examining and evaluating.”

This is not good news for Meadows in the short-term, and the hope is that he recovers completely. In the long-term, this doesn’t really have any impact if he does have a full recovery. He probably would have spent the entire year in Altoona this year, and with the outfield currently in Pittsburgh, there is no rush to get him to the majors any time soon. We’ll have more on this injury next week after Meadows is evaluated.

Kingham Throws Off the Mound For First Time

Nick Kingham threw off the mound yesterday for the first time since having Tommy John surgery. It wasn’t a real bullpen session, as he was throwing at about 75% effort and the catcher was in front of the plate, making them about 50 foot fastballs. Kingham equated it to flat ground routines off the mound, just to get re-adjusted.

“Light and easy fastball, just to get the feel of pitching off the slope again,” Kingham said.

Kingham threw 15 pitches in total, all fastballs. Today he said he felt good.

“Feel good today,” Kingham said. “Feel like it was a normal day. We’ll see how it feels two months from now when I’m throwing real bullpens and everything, but as of right now, everything feels good.”

The current plan is for him to throw two bullpens a week, always on Tuesday and Friday. He said he will take this progression for at least six weeks, and then will start to build up to a normal five day schedule. That might seem like a lot, but it’s similar to what Jameson Taillon did last year. He started throwing two bullpens a week on January 20th, and didn’t face hitters for the first time until March 13th.

Other Injury Updates

**Jung-ho Kang’s goal this week is to “get on the dirt in his cleats,” according to Tomczyk. He won’t be running the bases yet, and will still remain linear. Usually the bases are the last thing needed before returning to games, but this is a good step.

**Jesse Biddle started throwing flat grounds this week. That’s the first step back from Tommy John, usually following the four month period of no throwing at all. Biddle still has a long way to go until he throws off the mound and then returns to a game. By comparison, Nick Kingham started throwing off flat ground in late September, and didn’t throw off the mound until yesterday. So it could be a little over five months until Biddle is throwing off the mound, which would put that around September under the same timeline as Kingham.

**Cory Luebke threw a batting practice sim game. That puts him a lot closer to returning to games, although at this point he’s still a few weeks behind the other relievers. If the Pirates carry two lefties, it would be highly unlikely that Luebke would have a shot for the second lefty spot out of camp.

**Robert Zarate played catch on flat ground today. It seems unlikely that he’d get into games during Spring Training at this point, especially when you consider that Luebke isn’t in games yet and was throwing off flat ground in late-February.

**Antoan Richardson is scheduled to run the bases tomorrow.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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Love hearing Doc do our game yesterday. Shows how it should be done. But disappointed with Wehner and the new guy game before. Boy can Wehner ever YAK on and on! And the new guy just pandered to him? Very little if any about the actual game going on, the count, the pitch, the batters stats or status in the system? We do NOT have to hear constant chatter about meaningless stuff (shopping in Bradenton, fishing on the waters, some incident that occurred thirty years ago, etc.) that has little if anything to do about the game.


Like Blass doesn’t ramble endlessly on pointless stuff and arcane local Bradenton info during his ST appearances? I’ll take Wehner’s observations over Blass’s six days a week and twice on Sundays.

Yes, Doc could be a very good play-by-play man if he decided to switch sports.


Does anyone else get the irony in this? Our first round pick that we drafted to play center field, broke his eye socket because he missed a catch. Something about that just seems funny.

Chuck C

do we know if he missed a catch, or was hit by an errant throw?

Joe S

My guess is that Stetson Allie was throwing to the guy next to Austin Meadows opposite him.


I heard it was Pedro doing a private workout in Arizona.


I LOL’d at that and hated myself for it.

I guess I’m glad it was just catch and not taking a pitch in the face. Hope his vision doesn’t suffer.


Vogelsong, Nise, and Locke are all pitching as expected – which is mediocre at best, horrid at worst. Since it does not appear we have a Plan B for any of these guys, we better hope they start pitching better…soon…


and it’s spring training which means absolutely nothing. relax

Luke S

Cutch is hitting .100, Cervelli .143, Harrison .167, Rodriguez .500, Florimon .400.

We are one week into this thing, and no one is hurt. Its a success.

Plenty of valid reasons to think these guys wont be great, but we are fully in the “its way to early to judge much from these 4 innings in ST” area of the season.

John W

Yes it’s way too early in my opinion to be making many determinations. I am far from a rosy eyed optimist but have seen a lot of things I like in this camp. Admittedly, Niese, Locke and Vogelsong haven’t looked terrific but experience has taught me you really can’t draw too many conclusions from a few innings in Spring Training- whether they be good or bad.

See Volquez 2014 and Kang 2015

I have been impressed not so much in the results but the quality of at bats of the Moroffs, Ramirez’s Fraziers etc. I think we finally have some in house depth ready to contribute sometime very soon.

I’ve been intrigued by some of the relievers. I wouldn’t sleep too hard on Haley. If he continues to stay on right track could see him helping out sometime this year.

Luke S

Young guys have seemed comfortable with the at bats, which is always nice to see. Just nice, in general, to get live looks of them from those of us not able to get a ton of clips from regular season minor league games.



Luke S

Ah damn, i wanted someone to take up the argument that Florimon was gonna break out with the bat this season. 😉

John W

Tim you have any insight on what staff thinks of Haley? His command looks to be coming along. That curveball is a beautiful pitch.

Zachary F

How has Niese looked Tim? The box scores have been brutal…


To my eye, secondary stuff has been sharp, but he hasn’t commanded the fastball. I think Niese would tell you the same thing, too.

Robert Dawson

Love listening to Doc call pirates games! The guy is amazing!


The only thing that worries me is that is the main eye which he uses to ‘eye’ the pitcher and see the ball.

Let’s hope it heals 100%.


Well, we can’t really be sure there will be no permanent injury. Kirby Puckett’s career was ended by a fractured orbital bone. Dickie Thon’s was severely damaged by the same injury. Tony Conigliaro never had an OPS+ under 122 before his, and never over 117 in the three years after he returned. Of course there have been many successful recoveries, and his injury was probably not caused by a ball traveling at better than 90 MPH.

Luke S

Its misleading to say the orbital fracture itself ended his career. Kirby dealt with a circulatory disorder and a blood vessel issue along with the circulatory disorder culminated in losing his eyesight.

It would take a lot of rare situations to make this situation comparable to Kirby.

Kerry Writtenhouse

Not to mention being hit by a pitch and hit playing catch are 2 different circumstances.


It shouldn’t really affect him all that much physically. If he can stay in shape during the recovery, his physical tools shouldn’t suffer.

The mental side is bigger. If the experience makes him jumpy, that would be a problem. If not, he’ll get right back on track.


What’s up with the forgotten man Neftali Feliz? How has he looked?

Chuck C

Tim, Is there anything you miss? As a person that used to pride himself on memory (69 now) I am amazed at your recall on ballplayers. I know you have a data base, but to still, amazing.


I must admit, between Vogelsong and Nicasio, I forgot they gave him almost 4 million. Big money bullpen Buccos.

Luke S

Tough break (pun not intended). Be nice if it doesnt require more than rest.

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