Pirates notebook: Prospect Meadows suffers orbital fracture

Rob Biertempfel
| Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 11:48 a.m.

BRADENTON, Fla. — Outfielder Austin Meadows, rated the No. 2 prospect in the Pirates' farm system by Baseball America, fractured his right orbital bone while playing catch Tuesday in minor league camp.

After the swelling in his face subsides, Meadows, 20, will go to Pittsburgh to be examined by team doctors. It is not yet known if surgery will be required.

“We're still examining and evaluating,” athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk said.

During spring training in 2012, pitcher A.J. Burnett broke his orbital bone when he was struck by a bunted ball. The initial diagnosis was Burnett would be out eight to 12 weeks after surgery. However, Burnett was back in action with the Pirates in about six weeks.

The ninth overall pick in 2013, Meadows batted .307 at High-A Bradenton and .360 at Double-A Altoona last season.

Good time for a bad start

Ryan Vogelsong had trouble getting ground balls, and the Boston Red Sox took advance of breezy conditions at McKechnie Field to beat the Pirates, 6-2.

Vogelsong faced 16 batters in three innings and gave up three runs, four hits and two walks. Six of the nine outs the right-hander recorded came on balls hit in the air.

“I wasn't as crisp as I wanted to be, but I got a chance to grind through some innings,” Vogelsong said.

Three of the hits Vogelsong allowed went for extra bases: two doubles by Blake Swihart and Travis Shaw's wind-aided, two-run homer.

“You don't want to not pitch well, but you need to battle every once in a while,” Vogelsong said. “I'd rather have it now and get it out of the way than have it happen right before the season starts.”

In the third, Vogelsong issued back-to-back walks, which loaded the bases with one out. Brennan Boesch popped out, and Deven Marrero shattered his bat on an inning-ending grounder.

“I was able to make some pitches and get out of it,” Vogelsong said. “Not 100 percent what I wanted to do today, but you need those (kind of outings), too.”

Planet of the aches

Jung Ho Kang (leg) still is restricted to linear movement, and the team did not provide a timetable for when he will be cleared to begin baserunning drills. “Kang's goal this week is to get his dirt on the cleats,” Tomczyk said. … Left-hander Jesse Biddle (Tommy John surgery) has begun throwing on flat ground. … Right-hander Nick Kingham, who had Tommy John surgery, is throwing off the slope of a mound. … Lefty reliever Robert Zarate (elbow) played catch on flat ground. … Cory Luebke (hamstring) threw live batting practice.

Pitching plans

Francisco Liriano will start Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays. Jameson Taillon, Neftali Feliz, Jorge Rondon, Curtis Partch and Rob Scahill also are slated to pitch. … Tyler Glasnow will start a B game against the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota, Fla. Kyle Lobstein and Wilfredo Boscon also will pitch. … Gerrit Cole will pitch two innings Sunday against the Detroit Tigers. It will be the spring debut for Cole, who was slowed at the start of camp by rib inflammation.

Around the horn

Harold Ramirez had two hits, extending his hitting streak to six games. In eight games overall, he's 9 for 14 (.643). “He's what I call a bone collector: He gets base hits,” manager Clint Hurdle said. … Adam Frazier played the final four innings in center field and went 2 for 2. He's 5 for 11 (.455) in seven games.

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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