St. Louis – Bobby Cox says Braves rookie Jason Heyward is taking far too many hittable strikes and limiting his chances by continually falling behind in counts.
Chipper Jones says the young right fielder is following a learning curve that every rookie faces, and on nights like Tuesday against the Cardinals, he’s also getting pitched well in crucial situations.
This much is certain: Since going 9-for-29 (.429 with two homers and seven RBIs in a six-game stretch through April 16, Heyward’s 3-for-29 (.103) with four RBIs and 12 strikeouts in his past 10 games.
“We’re going to talk to him,” Cox said. “He’s taking way too many pitches for strikes. [As a result] he’s getting one pitch to swing at right now.”
Heyward struck out with the bases loaded on a six-pitch at-bat against left-hander Trever Miller to end the seventh inning with the Braves trailing 5-4, which ended up being the final score.
“I was on second [base],” Jones said of his vantage point on the strikeout. “Miller made some pretty tough pitches on him. It’s his first time through the league. Crunch time, you throw a sidearm lefty out there with a good slider, and you know, he located a good fastball on the outside corner. It’s not like it was right down the middle. It was located. Mac [Brian McCann] or Nate [McLouth] or any other left-hander would have a tough time with that guy.
“There’s a [learning] curve there. We’ve just got to be patient, let the kid see everybody a time or two.”