Viera, Fla. – Rookie sensation Jason Heyward was scratched from the Braves’ lineup Sunday due to shin splints, a condition that’s not considered serious but could linger if not taken care of early.
The 245-pound right fielder had received treatment on his left shin for the past couple of days, but the Braves decided to rest him Sunday when he had discomfort in batting practice.
“It’s just one of those things you want to nip in the bud, before it does become something that could put you out for a week,” general manager Frank Wren said.
It’s uncertain how much Heyward will play in the remaining four Grapefruit League games in Florida, before they return to Atlanta for their final exhibition games Friday and Saturday against the Chicago White Sox at Turner Field.
“He’s got to take some time off from running,” manager Bobby Cox said. “He’ll be fine…. Give him a couple of days off and see what happens.”
Heyward, 20, is the No. 1 prospect in baseball and has been one of the biggest stories in the majors this spring, for his tape-measure, car window-smashing batting-practice homers and his performance in games.
He’s batting .347 with one homer, five RBI, nine walks and nine strikeouts in 49 at-bats — the second-most at-bats on the team before Sunday.
The Braves open the regular season April 5 against the Chicago Cubs, and Heyward is penciled in as their right fielder. Cox announced Friday that Heyward secured a spot on the opening day roster.
Brent Clevlen replaced in the lineup for Sunday’s game against Washington.
Shin splints are “overuse” injuries often found in runners and aggressive walkers, according to MedicineNet.com. It’s fairly common among all levels of athletes as well as military personnel and others who do rigorous exercise.
The injury is to the front of the outer leg, and the usual symptom is inflammation resulting from injury to a tendon and adjacent tissue. The condition often results from a sudden increase in the intensity of workouts.
MedicineNet.com reports the common treatment is a “multifaceted” program that can include:
* Workouts such as stationary bicycling or pool running: These will allow maintenance of cardiovascular fitness.
* Icing reduces inflammation.
* Anti-inflammatory medications.
* A 4-inch wide Ace bandage wrapped around the region also helps reduce discomfort.
* Calf and anterior (front of) leg stretching and strengthening addresses the biomechanical problems discussed above and reduce pain.
* Shoe inserts (orthotics).
* Stretching and strengthening exercises are done twice a day.
* Run only when symptoms have generally resolved (often about two weeks).