Jason Heyward will be eligible to come off the disabled list on the Monday of the All-Star break (July 12), and judging by the most recent All-Star voting released Tuesday, he’s poised to become the youngest starter voted in since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1990.
But Heyward said Tuesday if his left thumb is preventing him from playing for the Braves, he doesn’t think it’s appropriate to play in the All-Star game.
“I actually don’t plan on playing in the All-Star game if I’m selected because if I can’t play for this team right here right now, then I don’t want to go play in that game and jeopardize the second half,” Heyward said. “If I can, I’d still like to go and show my support and appreciation to the fans who voted.”
Heyward was within 60,000 votes of the leading outfielder in the National League Ryan Braun in the most recent National League tally released Tuesday afternoon. With 2,205,534 votes, Heyward is the fourth-highest vote-getter among all NL players behind only Albert Pujols (3,249,136), Chase Utley (2,887,350) and Braun (2,262,663).
The Braves placed Heyward on the disabled list following Monday night’s game, retroactive to June 27, with a deep bone bruise in his left thumb that has been bothering him for the better part of six weeks. He has hit only .172 (17-for-99) with one home run since May 30 when he was hitting .301 with 10 homers.
Heyward is in a cast which he expects to wear for a week. Once he’s able, he wants to get some swings in a minor league rehabilitation assignment. His manager Bobby Cox, for one, thinks he could use the All-Star game July 13 in Anaheim for a tune-up if he changes his mind.
“Maybe that would be a good tune-up for him, play in the All-Star game,” Cox said.