FT. MYERS, Fla. – Right fielder Jason Heyward left Wednesday’s game against the Red Sox with a sore left groin, but said afterward he doesn’t believe it’s serious and just left the game to play it safe.
Heyward, who has played four of the Braves first five games, expects to sit out Thursday’s game against the Tigers then re-evaluate.
“To be safe I think tomorrow is an automatic, take it easy to see where we’re at,” Heyward said. “So play it day by day…just be smart. But I don’t feel like it’s anything major. The key is to not let it get to that.”
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he didn’t think it would be more than a day or so.
“He’s got a little tender (groin), nothing major,” Gonzalez said. “Those things you’ve got to be careful of. He should be good to go here tomorrow or the next day.”
Heyward said he first felt the soreness a couple of days ago, and it wasn’t any specific move, or play. He just thinks it’s just general soreness from conditioning.
He singled in the top of the first inning, then felt some soreness in the field in the bottom of the inning. He mentioned something to trainer Jim Lovell but said he wanted to give it one more at-bat to see if he could get loose. He decided to come out before his scheduled third at-bat.
“Long bus ride today and it felt a little sore, so this is not the time to push it,” said Heyward of the three-hour trip to Ft. Myers. “That’s all it is, be cautious, be careful and be smart about it.”
Heyward went 1-for-2 with a single in a 6-1 win. He’s hitting .364 (4-for-11) with a double this spring.
Center fielder Jordan Schafer also left Wednesday’s game after rolling his left ankle cutting back to first base after singling in the fifth inning. But he was prepared to run sprints shortly thereafter and said afterward he’s fine.
“When I saw the ball was going to be cut, I just tried to stop and my ankle rolled over,” Schafer said. “But it feels perfectly fine now.”
He wanted to run his usual sprints after coming out, but Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had other ideas.
“I said you’re going to show me up?” Gonzalez said with a smile. “I just took you out of the game. You’re going to go run sprints? I said you’re not running today. He should be fine. We wanted to make sure we didn’t make something out of nothing.”
The Braves had gone the first 2 ½ weeks of camp injury-free.