TORONTO -- As expected, the Rays called up Austin Meadows prior to the team's four-game series in Toronto. But playing time may be scarce for 23-year-old outfielder, who was not in the starting lineup in Thursday night's 9-8 loss at Rogers Centre. He pinch-hit with the bases empty in the
TORONTO -- As expected, the Rays called up Austin Meadows prior to the team's four-game series in Toronto. But playing time may be scarce for 23-year-old outfielder, who was not in the starting lineup in Thursday night's 9-8 loss at Rogers Centre. He pinch-hit with the bases empty in the top of the ninth and grounded out to first.
"Right now, I think the lane is a little blocked, with the way we're playing," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I tried to express that to him, but he's a huge part of our future."
Meadows came over from the Pirates along with Tyler Glasnow as part of the package for starter Chris Archer. He entered the season as the 45th-ranked prospect and the No. 1 prospect in the Pirates' organization, according to MLB Pipeline.
Since the trade, Meadows has been phenomenal at Triple-A Durham. He hit .344 with 10 homers in 27 games and led the team to a National Championship appearance.
"We feel it's about time for him to kind of cut loose and open up on his Major League career," Cash said.
However, the path to playing time appears blocked for Meadows. Outfielders Kevin Kiermaier, Mallex Smith and Tommy Pham are still expected to get the bulk of the work.
"Right now, [he] is going to impact us off the bench," Cash said. "Whether it's with his speed, his legs, or obviously, his bat."
Meadows' bat caught the attention of Kiermaier earlier this year, when the two played during Spring Training.
"That dude rakes," Kiermaier said. "I don't think he needs any of my help, but I'm here to give him any pointers or tips that he needs from the defensive side."
Regardless of his playing time, Meadows is just looking forward to helping the team down the stretch.
"It's great, everyone is very welcoming here," Meadows said. "I know that the team is rolling right now ... [and] just to be able to be a part of that, it's an exciting feeling."
Aaron Rose is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.