No ALDS repeat: Meyers passes wall-crash test

May 25th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Brian McTaggart’s Astros Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

fell to the ground, took a deep breath and quickly took an inventory of his body parts. Other than getting the wind knocked out of him when he crashed into the wall making a terrific catch in the second inning of Monday’s win over the Brewers in Milwaukee, he was completely fine. 

A day later, Meyers didn’t want to make too much of the moment, although everyone who is familiar with his history was thinking the same thing. And hoping for the best. Rewind to Game 4 of the 2021 American League Division Series in Chicago when Meyers crashed hard into the wall and suffered a significant shoulder injury. He underwent surgery to repair a labral tear in his left shoulder in November of that year and didn’t play in the big leagues again until last June. 

Even then, Meyers struggled so much defensively and in the batter’s box when he returned in 2022, manager Dusty Baker thought he may have come back too soon. Then-Astros general manager James Click vowed to examine the team’s “return to play” procedure. Just as Meyers has appeared to put the injury behind him, Monday’s crash into the wall served as a reminder of the injury in the ALDS and how far he has come. 

“Sure, running into the wall and getting hurt, there was trauma there, but I’ve spent a lot of time in the last year going through a lot of that and being able to make a play like that [Monday], it’s a lot of fun, just in general,” Meyers said. “In that sense, absolutely, you’re doing something that might be tough for you, but actually on the other end, in the long run, it was awesome to make a play like that.” 

Said Baker: “Once you make a play like that, it kind of relieves your mind of the past injury. You say, ‘I’m OK now.’ He went up there and he swung good after that happened and everybody held their breath to see how he was. That was an outstanding play.”

Meyers and Chas McCormick continue to split time in Houston’s outfield. McCormick made his 14th start in center field Tuesday, and Meyers has started 34 games in center (McCormick has also started in left field and right field).

Meyers, entering Tuesday, was tied for fourth among center fielders in the Major Leagues with six defensive runs saved, according to Sports Info Solutions.

At the plate, Meyers has made some real strides, too, thanks to a leg kick he added earlier this year. After starting the season 3-for-19, Meyers slashed .283/.372/.465 with three homers and 14 RBIs in 29 games since April 15 (entering Wednesday). That includes a 12-for-40 (.300) burst since May 5. Last week, he reached base in nine consecutive plate appearances

“I think [the leg kick] definitely helped me get started and get more comfortable in the box,” he said. “It kind of addressed the problem with the mechanics of what was going on and, from there, I kind of kept that going and then it came down to swinging at the right pitches.”

When you’re going bad offensively, it can carry over into a player's defense, and vice versa. Meyers has always tried to keep the two separated. The shoulder injury suffered in the ALDS two years ago impacted his game defensively and perhaps even at the plate. Now that he’s healthy and in a good spot on both sides of the ball, Meyers is flourishing again.