As expected, the move was made to protect Meadows -- who is viewed as the team's top prospect -- from the Rule 5 draft. He's coming off a disappointing 2017 campaign during which he hit just .250/.311/.359 in 72 games for Triple-A Indianapolis. He also dealt with hamstring and oblique injuries that limited him. The highly-touted prospect should compete for a spot on the Pirates' Opening Day roster, though the team may opt to start him out at Indianapolis once again.
Meadows (oblique) was placed on the 7-day disabled list at Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday.
The roster move effectively ends Meadows' season, marking the second straight year that an oblique strain cost him time in September. Even if health hadn't been a factor, it's uncertain if Meadows would have received a September callup to the Pirates, as he had hit a tepid .250/.311/.359 over 312 plate appearances with Indianapolis before being shut down with the injury.
The outfielder could miss additional playing time due to the injury. "I wouldn't say it's serious, but I would say we're going to probably take a little harder look at it than we did last time," Indianapolis manager Andy Barkett said. Meadows had six hits in 15 at-bats since returning from the disabled list. The organization is looking into winter ball for the oft-injured prospect.
Though the Pirates are down an everyday outfielder in Gregory Polanco (hamstring) and lost his primary replacement, Adam Frazier, to a hamstring injury in Sunday's game against the Reds, there doesn't seem to be any momentum to start Meadows' service clock. Widely regarded as the Pirates' top prospect, Meadows has submitted a lackluster campaign with Triple-A Indianapolis, hitting .250 with 23 extra-base hits in 312 plate appearances. The Pirates may want to see him experience more success at the Triple-A level before giving him his first taste of the big leagues.
Meadows (oblique) went 3-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI for Triple-A Indianapolis on Wednesday.
Aside from late-inning duty Tuesday, he'd missed the last six days with an oblique injury and that was on top of a hamstring ailment which had kept him sidelined for six-plus weeks. It'd be a big surprise if Meadows earns a September recall, but a strong (and healthy) finish to the Triple-A season could give him a boost heading into the 2018 campaign.
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