MORGANTOWN, WV – Austin Meadows was originally scheduled to play two full games on back to back days in Morgantown, before leaving for the next step of his rehab. Those plans changed last night when Meadows was removed in the middle of the game.
There’s nothing wrong with Meadows. The decision to take him out of the game was due to continued rain on a turf field, which isn’t the best environment for a guy coming off a hamstring issue. So he was removed as a precaution, and that puts the rest of his rehab up in the air. [UPDATE: Meadows is now finished with his rehab. More info below the original article.]
Black Bears manager Wyatt Toregas said that he only expects Meadows to be in Morgantown for a few more days, at most. He will play a full game tonight. If he needs more rehab work, he might take a day off and play another game this weekend. Toregas also said that Meadows might not even need the extra work.
“He looks like he’s running good,” Toregas said. “I’m going to let them know that it looks like he’s running fine. It might be one more game, it might be two more games. We don’t know yet.”
Meadows said that he’s feeling good and loose, and feels like he’s ready to go. After the hamstring injury, he took a few weeks off, then started hitting in the cages, before his return. The Pirates are being cautious with him in his return, which makes sense, as there’s no need to rush him back right now.
“I think that’s the goal,” Meadows said on being cautious. “I think that freak accidents can happen. So going out there, being really cautious, getting at-bats, feeling really good, running all around the bases in the outfield as well, I think it’s a comfortability thing for sure.”
Neal Huntington said that the Pirates would be conservative in their approach last week, when discussing his return.
“He’s running, he is throwing, he’s taking batting practice. Making great progress,” Huntington said. “Austin probably is a bit frustrated that we’ve held him to the slow pace that we’ve held him. Big picture is getting him back to doing the things he was doing as he was reaffirming his status as one of the better young players of the game.”
Meadows has been slow out of the gate with his offense in his rehab work, but said that he feels this is normal for someone returning from a long amount of time off.
“I feel like it’s coming,” Meadows said of his offense. “I just have to go out there each and every day and have confidence. I’m just going to keep working in the cages, keep working on my tracking and seeing the ball. I just know that definitely will come. Just kind of like in Altoona, starting off slow, and really just working hard and know it’s going to come back for sure.”
As for the recent trade deadline, Meadows said that he didn’t worry about the possibility of being traded. I asked him about the trade of Reese McGuire, who was drafted in the same year as Meadows in the first round. He said he got a chance to talk with McGuire after the deal, and that McGuire was excited.
“I didn’t really expect it, to be honest with you,” Meadows said. “But I know that he’s excited to start with the Blue Jays, and have a shot to get up there. I know that he knows some of the guys in the Blue Jays’ organization. That’s a good organization for him. Just excited for him for his future.”
Meadows will play tonight in Morgantown. I’ll have an update on his steps beyond that. Regardless of whether he plays another game here, he should be out of Morgantown by the end of the week, possibly moving to Indianapolis, or possibly continuing his rehab for a bit elsewhere before that return to Indianapolis.
UPDATE 12:28 AM: Meadows is now finished with his rehab assignment after Thursday night’s game. He told me that he will be heading to Indianapolis tomorrow morning. And there was much rejoicing.
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.