Heyward placed on DL, but won’t need surgery

Braves rookie standout Jason Heyward was placed on the 15-day disabled list late Monday with a deep bone bruise in the sore left thumb that has plagued him for six weeks.

Outfielder Matt Diaz will be activated to take the roster spot of Heyward, who will wear a cast for six days and, the Braves hope, be ready to play after 15 days. Surgery will not be required.

Diaz played three rehab games in Triple-A recovering from thumb surgery to remove a splinter that had caused an infection.

Heyward’s thumb was bruised at the base of a ligament and the injury was diagnosed after an MRI exam Monday morning. The big right fielder had missed two weekend games after soreness that plagued him for six weeks worsened to the point where he could no longer grip the bat using the thumb on his top hand.

“They’re going to cast it for a week, and then go from there,” manager Bobby Cox said. “But he should be OK, hopefully, in 15 days.

The MRI exam revealed a bruise and strained ligament where it attaches to the bone. It’s possible the soreness could linger until Heyward gets extended rest in the offseason, but the Braves hope that by immobilizing it for six days in a cast, he can get some immediate relief.

“We’re doing the best thing, I believe” Heyward said. “I don’t think they’d ever do anything but that. Right now it’s a good opportunity to go ahead and get it done, get the rest in, get the health and get the strength back in it, and be able to come back the second half.”

Heyward initially injured the thumb when he jammed it into third base sliding head-first on May 14. He continued to play despite lingering pain, which he never used as an excuse for his declining statistics.

In early June, Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton said the thumb was affecting Heyward more than he let on, and preventing him from extending and getting to many pitches he hit hard earlier in the season.

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

In his first 46 games, he hit .301 (47-for-156) with 10 homers, 38 RBIs, 29 walks, 35 strikeouts, and a .421 OBP and .596 slugging percentage (1.017 OPS).

“It’s nothing major because I’ve been on the field for the last two months with it,” Heyward said Sunday. “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.”

Heyward, 20, had the fourth-most National League All-Star votes when the latest fan-voting update came out last week. He had the second-most votes among outfielders.

He said late Monday that he didn’t know how the injury and DL stint would affect his status for the All-Star Game and whether he’d be able to play if elected to start.

If he’s among the top three outfielders in the voting, he’d be the second-youngest player ever elected to start in an All-Star Game, two months older than Ken Griffey Jr.

“I’d show up to accept [because] of the fact I was voted, and show the fans I appreciate it,” he said on Sunday. “So yeah, I’d definitely go.”

80 comments Add your comment

Heyfever

June 28th, 2010
3:46 pm

Good to hear that he won’t need surgery but I hope that this doesn’t dilute his hitting ability for the rest of the year.

BravesFan1231

June 28th, 2010
3:46 pm

They should really just shut him down until after the All Star break. He’ll have a few weeks of rest to see how it goes and than go from there.

nemov

June 28th, 2010
3:47 pm

Doesn’t sound like it’s going to get “taken care of” anytime soon.

Jerry

June 28th, 2010
3:48 pm

Here’s your Strasburg 2010 Tour stop prediction for Atlanta: http://TwitPWR.com/Lcr/

Renegator

June 28th, 2010
3:50 pm

Seriously, the Braves need to make a move for a legitimate bat in the OF. Then you can put Heyward on the DL until after the All Star break.

TennesseePaul

June 28th, 2010
3:53 pm

That’s too bad… It’s impossible to “strain” a ligament as that term is reserved for tendons and muscles…. But this is Jason Heyward. Guess he can do whatever he wants.

Everyone else “sprains” a ligament.

Anon21

June 28th, 2010
3:53 pm

I am pretty skeptical that the Braves can survive at the top of the East if Heyward’s production doesn’t pick up substantially. He doesn’t need to return to the inhuman pace he set through the first month and a half or so, but this .506 OPS business is a slow-motion disaster.

Mr. Enigma

June 28th, 2010
3:56 pm

They should DL him and let him get the rest he needs when Diaz or McLouth are ready to come back. Melky’s offense has improved significantly. Right now, Melky is a better pick in RF than Heyward. Melky’s got an arm cannon too, so that’s a bonus.

Largo

June 28th, 2010
3:58 pm

Comparing the braves (without a healthy Heyward and improving Chipper) to the phillies and mets does not paint a bright future.

jay dubu

June 28th, 2010
3:59 pm

What’s Nate’s status? Has his condition cleare enough for rehab? If so, let Heyward rest2 weeks, and put Nate back out there.

Nate McLouth

June 28th, 2010
4:03 pm

jay, are you talking about me?? You have seen how bad I suck this year, right? Trust me, the best place for me and the Braves is to be on the bench. Hell, I know I am stealing from the Braves every paycheck but its not my fault. Come see me at Blakes’, 1st drink is on me!

The Bream Team

June 28th, 2010
4:06 pm

It would have probably helped had he been given any rest the last 6 weeks, especially against tough lefties.

cavebird

June 28th, 2010
4:09 pm

I wish there was something that can be fixed and be done here. It obviously makes a huge difference. I agree with those who suggest he should hit the DL until the break. Diaz has already done two rehab games at Gwinnett, we want him to do more, but necessity is necessity. DL Heyward and activate Diaz. Then maybe we can get the real Heyward back after the break. Continually batting is just going to keep aggravating it.

Heyfever

June 28th, 2010
4:09 pm

McLouth is hitting 176-he only weighs 180. If you can’t hit your weight you shouldn’t be in the big leagues.

terry p

June 28th, 2010
4:10 pm

hey nate have you tried swing the bat with both eyes open? if you have then i am out of ideas

Delbert D.

June 28th, 2010
4:14 pm

TP’s calling Jenny Craig, I heard.

ozzie

June 28th, 2010
4:17 pm

15 day DL is a lay up. One or two days probably won’t do it.

Anon21

June 28th, 2010
4:19 pm

McLouth is obviously pretty bad, and Heyward will produce somewhat more than him. But the choice here is (potentially) between keeping a very mediocre Heyward in the lineup for the rest of the season versus leaving Heyward out of the lineup for a few weeks, taking a relatively small hit since his current production is bad, and then maybe getting back the “real” Heyward a little later down the road. If there’s a chance to get the J-Hey kid back on his early season form, I’d be perfectly willing to sit him and eat a few weeks of marginally diminished production from Melky, Nate, and Diaz.

kool$kat

June 28th, 2010
4:25 pm

Head first slides should be outlawed by professional managers at every level. No headfirst slide, no strained/sprained thumb.

TampaBrave86

June 28th, 2010
4:29 pm

Get your rest Heyward don’t rush back and let it be a nagging injury. Get it taken care of and be done with it bro. Lets Go Braves!!!!!!!! Can’t wait to see this kid Strasburg pitch tonight.

BravesFan1231

June 28th, 2010
4:31 pm

I wonder how Jordan Schafer is doing…maybe they could bring him up in Heywards absence.

Bubba G

June 28th, 2010
4:36 pm

Hope to see the braves get a win against a team that always seems to play them tough. Can’t wait to see Strasburg pitch. It will probably be a close one

George

June 28th, 2010
4:38 pm

Why did it take this long to figure out Heyward’s problem?

bravesfanbob

June 28th, 2010
4:38 pm

If the Braves show their patience they’ve shown all year, they should draw several walks off the kid tonight as he strikes out so many with nasty pitches out of the strike zone. This is one game that I would have no problem if a few of our strikeouts were the caught looking variety. If he throws the curves or splitters on 2 strike pitches, they are rarely in the zone, and we’ll not only get baserunners on walks, but we’ll up his pitch count quickly, which means we can get him out of the game around the 6th. His control is not quite as good from the stretch either.

Sam

June 28th, 2010
4:40 pm

Cox tends to err on the side of caution so we may not see Heyward for awhile, at least this series anyway.

Fire Frank Wren

June 28th, 2010
4:45 pm

Turn out the lights, the parties over. They say that all good things must end. Beltran back this weeks, Wright is killing it, Francour (remember him?) is hot, Dickie is 6 and 0 going tonight. Phillies are rolling, Rollins back and you know that story. First place mirage ends tonight.

Let's Go

June 28th, 2010
4:50 pm

Dave
What’s the chance they DL Jason? I mean they could retro it back to yesterday since he didn’t play and then have him come back after the all star break. Yes he would miss the Phillies & Mets series and the all star game but the shape he’s in now is doing us no good.

wjones

June 28th, 2010
4:51 pm

kool$kat

“June 28th, 2010
4:25 pm
Head first slides should be outlawed by professional managers at every level. No headfirst slide, no strained/sprained thumb.”

Say that louder. I don’t think that Rickey Henderson or Pete Rose heard you. But I guess their careers were cut short by sliding head first.

Dave

June 28th, 2010
4:52 pm

Roy Hobbs

June 28th, 2010
5:02 pm

Its good to finally see this in print. Its irresponsible and immature of the Braves to have kept trotting him out there every night, and worse to leave this up to him. Its clearly had an impact on his gameplay, and nobody wants to be the guy who says they are too hurt to play.

Take the bat out of his hand so to speak. Put him on the DL until after the all star break.

Stuart

June 28th, 2010
5:03 pm

Sit him through the All-Star break, maybe even a little after. I know that seems like a long time, but hopefully that would give him time to recover and get back to near 100%, if not 75% percent, which would help give the Braves a push for the second half. They shouldn’t just keep playing him now because the way he has been swinging lately with that sore thumb… he sure hasn’t been the threat that he was the early part of the season. So, just let him rest now while the Braves can afford to let him do so.

The Grinch

June 28th, 2010
5:03 pm

Sam @ 4:40…I’m sorry, what? You’re kidding, right?

Heyward needs at least two weeks off; even if it only marginally helps his thumb it’ll be worth it at I’m sure he needs the break mentally as well.

I know there’s no point in attempting to stem the flow of negativity in here, but you people are aware we’re still in first, right? We were the hottest team in baseball until running into what is NOW the hottest team (CWS). We followed it up by taking 2 of 3 from Detroit. The ship is hardly sinking; you guys act like we’re the Mets.

Bobby's Cox

June 28th, 2010
5:09 pm

Ole’ Nate keeps sayin’ he’s got a headache.

Stuart

June 28th, 2010
5:09 pm

But I agree with George… what took so long? The whole team knew that he had this problem. If they had sat him before to get it taken care of, he would probably be coming back right around now. I don’t think we would have desperately missed his .100 or so average and 2 RBIs over the past month. If we can get him back to his early form, then he can be the spark that he was again.

myra

June 28th, 2010
5:11 pm

Ok. Which player are we going to bring in to shore up the outfield? Triple A guy or a trade?

jesse james

June 28th, 2010
5:16 pm

That is great to hear and now maybe he can get back up to the plate where he was opening day.

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

June 28th, 2010
5:17 pm

Woah there Grinch, no sense in bringing any positive vibes into a sports blog. The natives won’t stand for it.

HoCoJo

June 28th, 2010
5:18 pm

I don’t like the looks of the next month. The Braves need to buckle down and get it done, or they will be 5-6 games out.

Supes

June 28th, 2010
5:20 pm

DL Heyward till the all-star break…it is what it is…yeah we “can’t afford it”…but if it gets him healed up and ready to attack the 2nd half of the season the way he did before the injury it’ll be resting him and going with a depleted OF…

of course they can always make a trade for another OF…we’ve got the minor league pitching depth to pull it off…just up to Wren if he wants to roll the dice on a trade.

Either way, no need to rush Heyward….this season shouldn’t be on his shoulders…it’s on Chipper, McCann, Glaus, Esco, Prado and on the starting 5 and our closer.

Idot

June 28th, 2010
5:23 pm

I can’t understand how so many Braves players continue to play with various ailments, that so obviously limit their production, without the team management picking up on it, and doing something about it.

Rob

June 28th, 2010
5:28 pm

I think he might have learned a trick from chipper

southern hope

June 28th, 2010
5:46 pm

we have a new blog to post on? So there’s a bunch of us slow-timers over at the previous blog. I’ll go gather them up now.

meanwhile, we’re predicting scoreless until the 7th…and then the Braves win 3-1.

Bubba G

June 28th, 2010
5:47 pm

How’s the weather looking for tonight’s game?

Corky Miller's Beer Gut

June 28th, 2010
5:55 pm

just checked 45 percent chance of thuder showers at 8pm

The Abs Man

June 28th, 2010
5:58 pm

DOB: Yes he has actually played better lately, but still hate having Melk-Dud in everyday lineup…battng second tonight no less…

What’s the 411 on Jordan Schafer–his stats and eye-witness accounts?

Thanks.

Bubba G

June 28th, 2010
6:08 pm

Thanks Corky

boog

June 28th, 2010
6:41 pm

Why did the braves wait so long to get to the bottom of this? It is inexcuseable. Instead of Heyward being virtually nonexistent for the past month he could have been resting and he could possibly be ready to go by now. Hitting .172 for the past month has been worse than if he was not in the lineup. A really botched deal by the training staff on this one.

hAL

June 28th, 2010
6:50 pm

what really had an impact on his number was an inability to hit the high tite fastball and the leagues second llok at him im afid you saw ther real haystack the last 6 weeks not there first when guys were hangin knnee high sliders too him

jerry

June 28th, 2010
6:53 pm

“It’s hurting, but he still helps you win even when he’s not at his best,” said Cox, who has cited Heyward’s defense and baserunning in recent wins.

Translation: We don’t have anyone else worth a damn.

ozzie

June 28th, 2010
7:01 pm

funny stuff jerry :)

…..and basically true re: the OF apart from Hinske (who is slowing down) and Infante who is an INF.

Yogi 2

June 28th, 2010
7:01 pm

Call up Mitch Jones from Gwinnett and Matt Diaz. put Heward on the DL
and release McLouth.

Yogi 2

June 28th, 2010
7:05 pm

Jordan Shafer is batting 211 and 1 home run and only 9 or 10 rbi’s
He never was a decent hitter. only when juiced up. CHeck out all his minor league stats

Chop Chop

June 28th, 2010
7:29 pm

I am currently in the mind of Bobby Cox. While trying to ignore all the heehawing and unrelenting impulses to pick boogers, I think I see a clear rationale for playing Heyward:

“I left Frenchy out there. His mind was injured. He was great. Heyward’s even better. Hand injuries are for heroes. Chipper’s hand is hurt. I’m leaving Heyward out there.”

Chief Pitchanono

June 28th, 2010
11:11 pm

Well all we can do is hold our breath and hope this helps. We have shown that we can win without him, but their is no doubt that this is a different team if they get the Heyward from April and May vs. the the injured one from June.

Rhino

June 28th, 2010
11:27 pm

The outfield should be able to piece together two weeks but I hope he can come back healthy when eligible. A late summer push without Heyward could be tough.

http://www.rhinorant.com

BobtheBlogger

June 28th, 2010
11:31 pm

Like others have noted, I’m also baffled as to why they let this go on for so long. When your batting average drops that dramatically for that long a period of time after an injury, something is wrong. We could all see Heyward missing those high inside pitches. Apparently nothing was learned from Schafer’s problem last year or Diaz’ problem earllier this year.

Blk. Peter Gammons

June 28th, 2010
11:31 pm

This did not have to happen. When he jammed his thumb going to third against the Mets he should of had some days off to recover. Instead, Cox puts him back out there everyday. Why? If you address it early it won’t have a chance to be nagging, even chronic. This is simply mismanagement by the Braves that has caused him to not be a front runner in the ALL STAR Game, Rookie of the year, and dual with Strasburg Monday. The Braves had players waking up at the time of his injury so there is NO excuse for this to happen.

RHR

June 28th, 2010
11:36 pm

The rest will be good for him but yikes what an OF. If we can stay close to 1st with that outfield…there’s no stopping us. :D

TennesseePaul

June 28th, 2010
11:40 pm

The MRI exam revealed a bruise and strained ligament

Seriously? Sprained ligament. Not strained.

Boatdoc

June 28th, 2010
11:47 pm

Thanks for the orthopedics lecture – THAT’s what we come here for! ;-)

I hear banjos and the horses are nervous in Covington

June 28th, 2010
11:55 pm

Really glad the Braves place Heyward on the DL, this will actually likely cause him to miss the All-Star Game and give him an 18 day rest. While he will not be completely healed, the break ought to recharge his batteries and hopefully enable Heyward to grip the bat more comfortably. Love to see Jason tear it up for the remainder of the season and earn the NL ROY for 2010.

JMAYNE

June 29th, 2010
12:27 am

Should have done it after the rays series. It was obvious it wasnt getting better and he needed to go on the DL. Now he misses the phils and mets series. Too bad, maybe we can get some lefties for matty d.

Jordan Shafer

June 29th, 2010
1:23 am

BravesFan1231: I suck

Mr. Enigma

June 29th, 2010
4:45 am

Chase Utley messed up his thumb tonight sliding into second base unsuccessfully trying to extend a single into a double.

Utley left the game and is getting a MRI tomorrow.

tom

June 29th, 2010
6:45 am

I don’t understand the delay. It has been obvious for weeks that this was deteriorating….not healing. MRI is a great tool if you use it! Jordon S. could have been helped long before he imploded too!

I hear banjos and the horses are nervous in Covington

June 29th, 2010
7:20 am

Jordan Shafer, at least spell his name correctly, you maroon.

JJ

June 29th, 2010
7:50 am

Nate McLouth

June 28th, 2010
4:03 pm

jay, are you talking about me?? You have seen how bad I suck this year, right? Trust me, the best place for me and the Braves is to be on the bench. Hell, I know I am stealing from the Braves every paycheck but its not my fault. Come see me at Blakes’, 1st drink is on me!

Stop killing Nate. he’s my fav player, just having a rough stretch. he’ll hit .260 to .270 by years end, which means he’ll hit almost 300 the rest of the way. My sources say he still has some vision problem, seeing kinda weird. He’ll get out of this and be hot down the stretch.

Jonathan

June 29th, 2010
7:59 am

I don’t think this will spell doom. Heyward hasn’t been doing anything in the lineup for the past month and the Braves are still in 1st.

ijudgenot

June 29th, 2010
8:41 am

“In early June, Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton said the thumb was affecting Heyward more than he let on, and preventing him from extending and getting to many pitches he hit hard earlier in the season”
This is what bothers me about the kids situation. The batting coach, who does not make public announcements about why a player is going bad at the plate, says publicly that the kid’s thumb is hurting him more than he is letting on and yet management(Cox & Wren) ignores him and keeps playing him. This says a lot about the respect management has for Penndleton’s judgement. I think we can put to rest any worries about Penndleton being the next manager. When his judgement about the health of your prize rookie is not important enough for you to check out with a MRI then he is not someone you entrust a full 25 players health to.

TheAntiMe

June 29th, 2010
9:21 am

You know, anytime I accidentally cut myself I bleed red tomahawks, but still I have to wonder…

did the Braves organization learn nothing from letting Jordan Schafer play all of last season with a fractured wrist and he has still not made it back to the big Braves? There is no way that Jason Heyward should have not been examined by a doctor and given an MRI, at least 4 weeks ago.

I guess the organization did learn something from the Schafer situation last year, as they only let Jason play 6 weeks or so with his injury, as opposed to the entire season. Still, we can only hope that for Jason’s sake that he didn’t make it much worse in the meantime.

Get well soon, JH!

JacketFan

June 29th, 2010
9:24 am

JEE-zus, y’all are some serious doomsdayers. Heyward has been hitting poorly ever since that slide, so it’s not like we’re putting a consistent hitter on the DL. We climbed into first on the bats of Prado, Glaus, McCann, Hinske, and, now, Jones. That’s what makes this team so special – people stepping up when others are slumping. IMHO, this couldn’t have come at a better time. We’re nearing the All Star Break with a schedule in which we face two teams – Nationals and Marlins – that are currently slumping. We managed to get the job done, in good fashion, against the best pitcher we’ll see in that stretch, without Heyward. The kid is young, so he’ll heal up easier than an older player and be ready to go after the break. I don’t know what it will take for you doubters to stop doubting, but how about we enjoy the success we’re having. This is a good team and one that is close – like a brotherhood – more so than Braves teams in the recent past. Enjoy it, people, and stop worrying yourselves to death.

Go Braves!

J Wood

June 29th, 2010
9:54 am

It was agonizing watching Heyward hit one-handed for six weeks. It was obvious immediately after the injury that he couldn’t get on top of the ball & drive it. So now he has a more serious injury. Hopefully, the Braves management will keep him out long enough so he can swing the bat with his awesome power. They also may want to coach their players to not slide without holding on to batting gloves and preferably not head first. Do the Braves have a trainer?

Gigga

June 29th, 2010
9:57 am

A lot of baseball still to be played. Give the kid his rest. He inspired the team when he first came up.. Hinske..Conrad gave the team some balls..they got Chipper thinking.. we can win this… I am not worried about this team. BECAUSE they are a TEAM…..Great pitching and everyone on the team THINKS they can win… haven’t had that attitude in a long while…. Think of Heywood as a bonus, someone to kick butt in a few weeks….Best Braves team chemistry in years

Braves Fan Since "80

June 29th, 2010
10:11 am

Good move a DL stint, the All Star break a solid but not great outfield….. we could sit him for a day or so weekly for a couple of weeks and his bat would tell us when he needed to play everyday…. We need the old Matt back for three or four weeks

Blanco and Diaz can certianly replace the struggling heyward for a couple of weeks Melky and Eric should be solid….. Escobar we need three weeks of great baseball and chipper to continue to improve defensively

williamshakespeare

June 29th, 2010
10:15 am

If people knew how “worry”, “doubt”, and “negativity” are actual places they can inhabit in the afterlife, they’d go into emergency mode to become assured, optimistic, and clear-headed.

Just a thought :)

I like this team, loving the bunting, too.

Marc in FL

June 29th, 2010
10:57 am

Someone bless the thumbs of the Braves players or something, this is the third thumb issue this season already, and two have resulted in DL stints.

[...] Heyward’s nagging left thumb injury has placed him on the 15-day disabled list Monday. The Braves are concerned that Heyward will have to manage the pain until the offseason when [...]

Yogi 2

June 29th, 2010
11:17 am

the best way to spell Jordan Scafer is FLOP or JOKE

Melky way

June 29th, 2010
3:32 pm

If jordon deseved to have his name spelled correctly it would be one thing so Shafer!

[...] Rookie Right Fielder Jason Heyward was placed on the Disabled List Monday with a deep bone bruise in his left thumb. The good news is Heyward has a strained ligament [...]

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