Heyward likely to miss matchup vs. Strasburg

Jason Heyward’s sore left thumb is expected to keep him out of the lineup  Monday for the Braves’ highly anticipated first game against Washington Nationals pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg.

The injury might also prevent Heyward from playing in the July 13 All-Star Game, depending on the diagnosis when the rookie right fielder is examined again by a hand specialist this week.  He’s scheduled to have an MRI on Monday.

“It’s nothing major because I’ve been on the field for the last two months with it,” said Heyward, who hurt the thumb when he jammed it sliding head-first on May 14. “But it’s something that’s creating a problem as far as being consistent.

“I want to get it taken care of now instead of having to worry about it later.”

In the past 24 games in which he batted, Heyward hit .172 (17-for-99) withthree doubles, one homer, seven RBIs, 33 strikeouts, a .274 on-base percentage and a .232 slugging percentage (.506 OPS).

In 46 game before the slump, he hit .301 (47-for-156) with 10 doubles, three triples, 10 homers, 38 RBIs, 29 walks, 35 strikeouts, and a .421 OBP and .596 slugging percentage (1.017 OPS).

“It’s just being able to be consistent with the swing,” he said. “I looked at film two months ago and now, and my thumb is on the bat then. The way I’m holding it now, it’s not even on the bat. So there’s going to be a difference there, no matter what you’re trying to get done, as far as mechanics go.”

Missing some games now, and possibly even the All-Star Game, is preferable to having the sore thumb affect him for the rest of the season, Heyward said. He was out of the lineup Saturday and Sunday.

Heyward had the fourth-most National League All-Star votes in the latest fan voting update released last week, and the second-most votes among NL outfielders.

He’s not hitting balls with authority the way he did consistently before the injury. Hitting coach Terry Pendleton said three weeks ago that Heyward’s thumb was bothering him more than he let on, and that it was preventing him from extending and driving balls like he did earlier.

On Sunday, Heyward agreed with that assessement.

“When you have that top-hand direction, if you don’t have that kind of direction on the bat then you don’t have the same plane every swing,” Heyward said. “It’s not going to be consistent, like I said. That’s one thing I want to get taken care of now, to make sure it’s there for August and September.”

19 comments Add your comment

Let's Go

June 27th, 2010
4:58 pm

Another reason not to slide head first.

Tipping your cap to the other team

June 27th, 2010
5:03 pm

A tip of the cap to Let’s Go. 4.58 thats fast.

Candy O

June 27th, 2010
5:05 pm

Hope the Braves KO Strasburg early.

Moving in Stereo

June 27th, 2010
5:06 pm

Bet the Ted will be packed.

extremus

June 27th, 2010
5:07 pm

Looking forward to hearing the diagnosis. Hopefully the damage is minimal and Heyward will be back to top form soon. But he absolutely needs to sit until the physician says the thumb is fully healed to avoid aggravating it further. Oh, and I agree, no more head first slides.

jesse james

June 27th, 2010
5:26 pm

With the head first it makes you wonder how Pete Rose didn’t stayed injured. Of course he like Heyward wouldn’t tell anyone if he was. He would still want to play. Hopefully Heyward will okay and he can get back up to the play where he was on opening day.

John

June 27th, 2010
5:39 pm

i think the rookie for Detroit should be in the all star game not the Hey Train!!!!

Dumbfound

June 27th, 2010
5:48 pm

@John, Why !?!

bravefaninok

June 27th, 2010
5:48 pm

John

June 27th, 2010
5:39 pm

i think the rookie for Detroit should be in the all star game not the Hey Train!!!!

He will be ….in the other dugout!

Tonite she comes

June 27th, 2010
6:02 pm

John walked into that one! Got schooled hahahahaha

stew

June 27th, 2010
6:37 pm

I hope this is a short term probelm. Braves are not the same team without him. We still need a leftfielder and a centerfielder. What’s the story with Nate and Matt? Melky just doen’t do it for me offensively and defensively. We’re not the same team that rolled into first place. What’s up with Tommy?

hAL

June 27th, 2010
6:56 pm

ohh how sad he must be not to be overmatched which he would be also i see our ace our stud only gave up 17 hits today good day for the future of the franchise huh bet a few arent quits so sure frank was an idiot for sighning d lowe and huyudy now that hanson has slipped back into the crapper lol

Brock

June 27th, 2010
7:08 pm

Not so sure Frank Wren is an idiot, but hal left no doubt. wow!!

Dan_in_NC

June 27th, 2010
7:20 pm

I said this yesterday and will repeat again…I would shut Jason Heyward down until (at earliest) the Mets series just before All-Star break. And if Atlanta was ahead 1.5 games going into their trip to NYC, I would keep him shut down.

Give him a good 2 week period to heal that thumb and have him fresh and ready for a strong 2nd half of the season.

scottbravesfan

June 27th, 2010
7:29 pm

I agree with Dan shut him down for two weeks if possible. I appreciate Braves young players trying to play hurt but sometimes you got to know when to sit. Schafer playing with a broke wrist last year and now Heyward playing with a jammed thumb. It’s good that they are tough but you got to be smart as well.

HaL,

you are an idiot. This year means nothing for Tommy Hanson and Jason Heyward. Hanson is 23 and Heyward is 20. They aren’t even close to their primes yet and have been in the league for 2 and a half months for Heyward and a little over a year for Hanson. Look up Maddux, Smoltz, and Glavine’s numbers and how they did their first and second seasons.

Jack

June 28th, 2010
10:53 am

Head First Slides into first base should be an automatic $5,000 fine in each team’s kangaroo court. Do they still have kangaroo courts?

Anyways, poster Jesse James mentioned Pete Rose. Pete Rose did a lot of head first sliding, but I do not think he did into first base.

Head first slides into other bases are usually to avoid a tag. In those cases a player might grab the bag on the way past it or slide on top of it.

Head first slides into first base are usually because of the misguided notion that it gets the runner there faster. Therefore by definition the player is going to be reaching for first base with his furthest extremities which are his fingers.

From what I hear it is pure instinct that makes players do it, but it adds nothing to your speed to the base.

Seriously this is unfortunate, and I hope Heyward heals quickly. And I seriously wish there was some deterrent, other than the obvious risk of injury and the actual increase in the chances that the runner will be out, I get sick to my stomach whenever I see it done.

Ripped Again

June 28th, 2010
11:22 am

It wouldn’t suprise me if the Braves didn’t no hitted tonight !

Bravos07

June 28th, 2010
2:30 pm

Jack- Heyward hurt his thumb sliding into 3rd base. not first base

BobtheBlogger

June 28th, 2010
3:03 pm

I don’t understand putting players in the lineup day after day when they’re hurt. Diaz and Heyward both injured their hands and were turning in horrible numbers, but they played day after day. At some point Gregor Blanco and other bench players or minor league players become better options than the injured Heyward. Didn’t we learn anything from the Jordan Schafer debacle last year?

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