When the Pirates promoted outfield prospect Austin Meadows on May 18, the plan was for him to quickly return to the minors, manager Clint Hurdle told Elizabeth Bloom of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and other reporters Saturday. However, Meadows’ “performance was eye-catching,” according to Hurdle, which convinced the team to keep him around when it activated fellow outfielder Starling Marte from the disabled list Saturday. With Marte, Gregory Polanco and Corey Dickerson, the Pirates now have their starting outfield intact again, but Hurdle still sees enough opportunities for the 23-year-old Meadows to justify keeping him in the majors. “We need to continue to monitor [Corey] Dickerson’s on-field innings,” Hurdle said. “Marte’s bouncing back, we’re going to be smart with, and Polanco. So I think between the four of them, and a true fourth outfielder, we’ll be able to have the opportunity to get everybody playing time.” Meadows was out of the lineup for the Bucs’ game on Saturday, but he did collect a pinch-hit appearance. He didn’t reach base in that at-bat, dropping his line to a still-stellar .433/.433/.867 over his first 29 major league trips to the plate.
More from the majors’ Central divisions…
- Reds left-hander Brandon Finnegan tells Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he’s displeased the team demoted him to Triple-A on May 10 to make room for Matt Harvey’s acquisition. Finnegan noted that he’s fine either starting or relieving in the majors, saying “whatever helps the team out is what I want to do,” but he believes he made a case earlier this season to continue in the Reds’ rotation. “I felt like I had two pretty good starts up in Cincinnati,” Finnegan said. “You can’t do anything about getting taken out of the game after 70 pitches. (Reds interim manager Jim) Riggleman loves using the bullpen; that’s his thing. That part was out of my hands. Besides that, two of my five starts I had, I thought were pretty good. I was attacking guys.” Notably, Finnegan added that he has no hard feelings toward Riggleman, per Nightengale. Regardless, Finnegan didn’t exactly make a case to stay in the Reds’ rotation during his five pre-demotion starts – he logged a 7.40 ERA with 15 walks and 14 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings – though he still expected more leeway after missing most of last season with shoulder issues. The Reds, for their part, haven’t given up on Finnegan serving as a starter in the majors, and they sent him down so he’d work out of their their Triple-A rotation rather than the big league bullpen, Nightengale writes. Finnegan, meanwhile, is using his stint in the minors as motivation and “hoping to get back” to the Reds sooner than later.
- Cardinals righty Alex Reyes will make his much-anticipated 2018 debut on May 30 in a start against the Brewers, Joe Trezza of MLB.com tweets. It’ll be the prized 23-year-old’s first MLB outing since he underwent Tommy John surgery prior to the 2017 season. Reyes tore through multiple minor league levels during his rehab stint this year, racking up 44 strikeouts against seven walks in 23 scoreless frames, and looks unlikely to work under an innings limit upon his return to the majors.
- Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera is making progress as he works back from a hamstring strain, as Evan Woodbery of MLive.com details, but a return date for the future Hall of Famer is still unclear. Cabrera hasn’t played since May 3, before which he seemed to be in the midst of a bounce-back campaign. After posting an uncharacteristically pedestrian 2017, Cabrera opened this year – his age 35-season – with a .323/.407/.516 line in 108 PAs. Fortunately for Detroit, first base fill-ins John Hicks and Niko Goodrum have fared respectably in Cabrera’s stead.