Heyward, Uggla big factors in scoring woes

Big things were expected from the Braves’ power-hitting duo of Jason Heyward and newcomer Dan Uggla, the former an All-Star as a rookie in 2010, the latter a two-time All-Star and Silver Slugger award winner last season with the Marlins.

Considering how little production the Braves have gotten from the injury-slowed Heyward and underperforming Uggla, it shouldn’t be surprising that the team was only four games above .500 (28-24) before Saturday.

If anything, the surprise should’ve been that their record wasn’t worse.

In 2010, Heyward and Uggla had a combined .282 average with 52 doubles, 49 homers, 177 RBIs, 169 walks and 183 runs.

With nearly one-third of the 2011 season completed, Heyward and Uggla had a combined .196 average with 11 doubles, 14 homers, 30 RBIs, 37 walks and 39 runs before Saturday.

Heyward is eight days into a stint on the 15-day disabled list recovering from recurring soreness in his right shoulder. He hasn’t resumed swinging and could be out at least another 10 days.

He had a dye-contrast MRI exam last week – his second MRI on the shoulder — which Heyward said showed wear-and-tear damage to the labrum of his right (non-throwing) shoulder, but nothing to require surgery.

“I’m doing stuff to strengthen my scapula, to get it to be more like my throwing side,” he said. “And then we go from there.”

Heyward has hit .214 with seven homers,14 RBIs and a 317 on-base percentage in 45 games, including .098 (4-for-41) with one extra-base hit (double) and no RBIs in May.

“I thought I could play with it some; I had some stretches this year where I was where I thought I should be,” he said. “But the wear and tear of every day and how hard I play, and swinging the bat every day, made it worse gradually. It’s a little frustrating, but while I still have time – this is only year two of my career – so I most definitely need to take care of it.”

Asked if felt better after a week of rest, he said, “Honestly I wouldn’t be able to tell anyone about it being better until I notice the pain being gone… Because I still use my shoulder and arm just for everyday stuff, and it still does nag at home, sitting down and doing nothing I can still feel it.”

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was told the MRI revealed “normal wear and tear” of a major league  shoulder. He said Friday he was hopeful Heyward could resume hitting next week, then get at-bats in extended-spring training in Orlando before a brief rehab assignment at Triple-A Gwinnett. Gonzalez thought he might be ready shortly after the 15-day DL period.

Judging from Heyward’s comments Saturday, it could be longer.

“The labrum has the wear and tear,” Heyward said. “That’s why we’re trying to strengthen everything around it right now, and hopefully that will make it better and be what I need to have no pain and be ready to play.

“I would say my swing is probably more violent for this [right] shoulder than the other one, and that’s probably how I did it. It doesn’t help to swing and miss; right now it doesn’t help to be swinging. So right now, while the labrum is damaged it’s going to cause some pain and discomfort with the swing. That’s why we’re trying to get it back to where I can manage that.”

Heyward said he was assured surgery wasn’t needed.

“They definitely said it’s not anything to have surgery, at this point,” he said. “Of course if it continues to get worse [surgery might be needed later]. But looking at the MRIs and things like that, I won’t need any surgery.”

Uggla’s epic slump

He nearly hit a three-run homer in Friday night’s 5-1 loss to Cincinnati, but Uggla had to settle for a sacrifice fly just shy of the center-field wall. It was only his second RBI in 15 games.

Uggla was 7-for-61 (.115) with one extra-base hit, 2 RBI and a .396 OPS in 15 games before Saturday. That sunk his average to .183 (second-worst among National League regulars) and OPS to .585, third-lowest in the league.

His  .125 average with runners in scoring position was fifth-lowest.

First homer off Kimbrel

In his 51st major league appearances, rookie closer Craig Kimbrel finally allowed a home run.

Entering the ninth inning Friday with the Braves trailing 3-1, he gave up a leadoff walk to Jay Bruce and a one-out homer by Ramon Hernandez. It was the third two-run outing for Kimbrel in 10 appearances before Saturday.

Kimbrel went 4-0 with a 0.34 ERA and .132 opponents’ average in his first 27 regular-season appearances, allowing just one earned run and 10 hits in 26-2/3 innings. In 20 appearances since, he had a 4.26 ERA and .225 opponents’ average with nine earned runs and 16 hits in 19 innings.

59 comments Add your comment

Chip Whitley

May 28th, 2011
7:35 pm

Our offensive woes are making Kimbrel’s blown saves that much more deflating. When we actually do score enough runs to win, we have to capitalize.

J-Man

May 28th, 2011
8:39 pm

How in the heck can Gonzalez allow D Lowe to give up 5 consecutive runs. Awful Job that was the worst managing by far this season. He should have had Martinez warming up when the bases were leaded and should have pulled lowe after that 3 run double.

David Hughes

May 28th, 2011
8:46 pm

Does Heyward even want to play everyday. I am not at all impressed with him these days. He appears to not be bothered by not playing and satisfied collecting a big league paycheck.

jt

May 28th, 2011
9:00 pm

Because Gonz is as bad a manager as B Cocks. He and D. Lowe are a first class piece of SH@T!!

These guys are an embarrassment to major league baseball.

Oh Yeah throw in Dan Uggla (better known as the new Mendoze Line poster child) and Jason, what a hype job, Heyward.

Give me a f’ing break!!

Boombah

May 28th, 2011
9:39 pm

rc35

May 28th, 2011
9:44 pm

Has anybody told Fredi that it’s OK…even expected…that the manager actually pay attention to the game and make lineup changes as needed…like when the starting pitcher can’t find home plate with a guide dog and a Sherpa?

the truth...

May 28th, 2011
9:47 pm

…is that this is a team of wuss’s….Heyward’s shoulder is not his throwing shoulder so where is the “wear and tear” for a 21 year old?

I’m thinking it is from sliding head first….ban this slide for all Braves…..

BobDawg

May 28th, 2011
10:27 pm

Heyward is like alot of Phenom’s that play on year round traveling teams and have played a ton more ball than kids did years ago…. I hope he is not breaking down like Mauer is for the Twins and others.
BTW…. some of you idiots on this blog need an attitude adjustment….

Hawes

May 28th, 2011
10:33 pm

I am not one to question a pro-athlete’s commitment when he’s injured. I thought the piling on Jay Cutler was absurd.

But “normal wear and tear” means you sack up and play.

Hinske Da Man

May 28th, 2011
11:18 pm

The Braves are tough to watch these days. A 5-0 lead and they choke it away and have to go extra innings yet again just to pull out a miracle win against a bad team. This team is going nowhere fast. The Phillies will win the division and the Braves will be at home come October.

Hinske Da Man

May 28th, 2011
11:25 pm

Its a shame that this is a team sport yet its always the same guys that carry the dead weight of the rest of this team. If it weren’t for McCann on offense and Venters at pitching, this team would be pathetic.

JohnGTFan

May 28th, 2011
11:32 pm

JT…you hate the Braves organization so much, why don’t you become a bandwagon jumper and be a fan of another team. You’re a perfect example of what’s wrong with Atlanta “fans” as it is. You won’t be missed.

para brave

May 29th, 2011
12:09 am

Hey Uggla you don’t have to try and hit a HR everytime you come to bat. It is okay to get a single once in a whie. Especially with men on base.

STRETCH

May 29th, 2011
12:46 am

Im overseas watching ESPN Baseball tonight. Im waiting for Braves highlights and on the left side of the screen shows the upcoming topics, so i see McCann hits 2 hrs, so im waiting on the highlight. And then they are talking with Jose Bautista, i look away for a few seconds and look back….they had removed the Braves ticker!

Ive always heard people complian about ESPN being biased in their covarage of Atlanta sports, but i never thought much ove it. But after today…im started to believe it. I wish there was some way to blow the horn on these guys. All they do is talk Yankees/Red Sox!

Serbok

May 29th, 2011
12:48 am

gotta “Say”
Heyward? @ this point is a mystery!!!
His “Right” shoulder? Normal wear and Tear? Or? Am I seeinf a “TIER?”
As in Crocodiles? I hope he’s NOT a Puss-N-Boots!

Kevin

May 29th, 2011
12:52 am

Schafer must stay. This lineup is so much better with Schafer than McLouth offensively and defensively.

Alaska Braves Fan

May 29th, 2011
1:32 am

I have said it before, and I’ll say it again: Heyward can’t play with any degree of discomfort; Uggla can’t deal with real pressure. Next year these two may be straightened out, but don’t expect anything this year. Heyward can’t stand boo-boos, and Uggla is almost hysterical – in panic mode – because of his big contract.

ABF

reckingball

May 29th, 2011
2:18 am

A lot of absurd comments.

Eugene

May 29th, 2011
5:37 am

Who is surprised that Kimbrel gave up a lead-off walk? He’s done that in just about every outing he’s had. It was a matter of time when he couldn’t dig himself out of a hole. Venters is the better closer. And Uggla needs to join Kawakami, move Prado to second and let Hinske play full time.

BravesfaninAugusta

May 29th, 2011
6:58 am

Heyward: “But the wear and tear of every day and how hard I play, and swinging the bat every day, made it worse gradually. It’s a little frustrating, but while I still have time – this is only year two of my career – so I most definitely need to take care of it.”

Tell me he’s not thinking more about his future and big $$$$ then getting out on the field and playing through it. I know, easy for me to say, I’m not the one that is hurting… but “C’mon Man” you’re in YEAR 2 of your MLB career and you have “wear and tear” Give me a frigging break!

BravesfaninAugusta

May 29th, 2011
7:05 am

BobDawg… 10:27 pm
Heyward is like alot of Phenom’s that play on year round traveling teams and have played a ton more ball than kids did years ago….

I actually hadn’t thought of that but I’m still bothered that Heyward just seems OK with not being in the line-up… question his intangibles that make others a star.

BravesfaninAugusta

May 29th, 2011
7:06 am

A positive comment for a change for me: How about how Jordan is playing? Great to have speed in the lineup, but (going negative again I know) guess where he’ll be when McLousy gets healthy, back at AAA of course.

old dawg fan

May 29th, 2011
7:41 am

I hate to see JH out-but his performance has had issues. I think he can work thru this but Uggla is done. Time for him to get gone-trade him-take the “loss” he is terrible.

chas

May 29th, 2011
7:54 am

heyward stinks uggla stinks fredi stinks with so many stinks around the braves are lucky to be where they are

Rusty

May 29th, 2011
8:03 am

Speed KILLS. There is NO substitute for speed. Power hitting for 30 HR’s a year does not make up for the 600 strikeouts, pop ups and double plays.

vermont 39

May 29th, 2011
8:51 am

Braves win 7-6…what about that!!!!

alanfalcon

May 29th, 2011
8:56 am

Normal wear and tear in a 21 year old, have to worry if his continued play will result in a down hill progression and a short future. I think that he needs to be shut down for a longer period of time until he can strengthen his shoulder otherwise he’s a loss cause.

The Real Pocaroba

May 29th, 2011
9:00 am

@ Serbok: Your comment reads like James Joyce on mesculine. Could be either nonsensical or brilliant – not sure yet.

Uggla will end up hitting .240/30/80…

braveshoo

May 29th, 2011
9:11 am

I believe in Uggla, but he is in a horrible slump. He needs to stop thinking so much, and just play. I would drop him to 8th in the lineup, take the pressure off, and just let him play his way out of it. I would keep Schaffer, and trade McClouth for anything you can get.

Adam Tolle

May 29th, 2011
10:13 am

Heyward talks too much. Honeymoon is over for him

John A.

May 29th, 2011
10:38 am

What’s the point of writing or chatting about Dan Uggla and his batting woes? Fredi and Frank are saddled with his contract, and neither seem to mind him just showing up for the game with his glove.

Bravo

May 29th, 2011
10:39 am

Starting to believe Heywards a ‘WUSS’, Uggla on the other hand is just plain unlucky right now. How many times has he hit the ball on the nose but right at someone. I know he’s hit the ball atleast 3-4 times all the way to the wall just to come up a little short. I like Uggla he will come out of his slump and be the player we expect.

Jack G

May 29th, 2011
10:40 am

Uggla—-Its time to play smarter, not harder

Skillet

May 29th, 2011
10:43 am

Uggla’s psyche is so messed up right now that he may have to do a reverse-Ankiel, and become a pitcher. Uggs already hits like a pitcher, so he’s half way there.

Heyward’s biggest problem, besides acting like a 50 year old man, that doesn’t want to play baseball anymore is that his name is not spelled” Heywood”…Heywood would be easier to remember, and I wouldn’t have to double check myself every time I spelled it.

Can we get an update on .238 Nate whose fate may not be too great? I hate that .238 Nate’s strained left “oblate” is causing him to miss swinging and missing at the plate.

Here’s a thought. Yunel is hitting about 18 points higher than Gonzo. He hasn’t been a problem in Toronto, and he’s 5 years younger than Gonzo…Braves need bats bad, so what did they do, get rid of one….Nice.

John A.

May 29th, 2011
10:56 am

I wonder if Heyward has ever heard of the likes of Brooks Robinson, Mickey Mantel, Ted Williams, Chipper (before aging set in) Jones, Hank Aaron, and so many more quality players. They played day in and day out with hurts and bruises that these wusses of today can’t deal with.

Oh, I forgot Cal Ripken and Lou Gehrig…..do you suppose they played hurt at least one time in their careers?

Rusty

May 29th, 2011
11:02 am

Yunel is a retarded crybaby. Gonzo’s glove more than makes up for Yunel’s whopping 18 points higher BA.

Swede

May 29th, 2011
11:20 am

“reckingball

May 29th, 2011
2:18 am

A lot of absurd comments.”

Never have anything more true been said on ajc.com!

For a while I thought I had logged on to a site for Braves fans – but the awakening was cruel…

Neverbeenfirst

May 29th, 2011
11:22 am

Though it is great to see what Schafer has done these past 4 games, it is an extremely small sample size, and it needs to be seen if this hard nosed style of play keeps up. If it doesn’t, we’re going to be stuck with mcclouth for a while unfortunately.

Confounded

May 29th, 2011
11:26 am

I agree with Bravo. Uggla will eventually come around, just hope it sooner rather than later. Heyward? Got to believe he was a minor league phenom and peaked the first 6 months of his freshman year in the Bigs. He’s way over rated and will never produce the way everyone thought he would after arriving in the ATL. Hopefully the Braves will move him on to another team before his agent demands great big money for very little production. He’ll be another Francour, a journeyman ball player who will hang on in the majors for longer than he’s needed.

fastasballs

May 29th, 2011
11:51 am

In all honesty I feel for Uggla more than Heyward. Uggla has put so much pressure on himself to live up to the contract that he’s pressing. He isn’t happy with just collecting a check for prior accomplishments like so many others. Once he gets comfortable he’ll produce.

Heyward is becoming a major disappointment IMO. He’s already injury prone at such a young age. With his body build his future most likely would be defined by injuries as he aged anyway, but having so many this young just is troubling.

Considering all the injuries the Braves are in a decent position. Provided they stay close the farm is loaded just in case Wren needs another bat late in the season. At the rate the Braves pen are pitching innings a reliever or two may be needed as well.

Brave New World

May 29th, 2011
11:53 am

Saying Uggla and Heyward are big factors in Braves’ scoring woes is like saying most Braves’ bloggers are big factors in America’s rising illiteracy rate.

wallypip

May 29th, 2011
12:12 pm

I have said it before and I’ll say it again. Heyward swings too hard. Not only does it make it difficult for him to square up a ball, he’s actually damaging his non-throwing shoulder doing so. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Dude is going to have to change his swing if he expects to have a career. Chipper’s swing is a great one to emulate. It’s smooth and measured, yet powerful. Uggla is also swinging too hard, trying to pull everything. Heyward and Uggla and Gonzales all need to focus on hitting the ball to the opposite field. Once they begin going with all the breaking balls and outside fastballs they’re seeing, pitchers will have to start coming middle-in, where they can actually pull a pitch. Uggla and Heyward aside, Freddi is not impressive. This team is abysmal when it comes to the details that win you close games. Baserunning is awful. How many outs and second and third bases this year? I’m sure there would be many more at home plate, but the Braves so seldom get anyone around third. This whole team looks moribund to me. Even Prado. Energy starts at the top. If I were Freddi, I’d be worried not only about the team’s record at this point, but about whether I was going to make it throught the season. Widespread underachievement is on the manager.

kfoster

May 29th, 2011
12:25 pm

i don’t have any problem with heyward being out of the lineup. the kid wasn’t looking good at the plate, and obviously needed a break to rest his shoulder. if an injury is keeping him from producing, then the best thing he can do for the team is take care of himself and get back on track. don’t understand why people are questioning his “intangibles”.

uggla will come around. until then, people just need to be patient. so does fredi for that matter. i like seeing how loyal hes being to uggla. a split clubhouse between players/manager is not what i (or any braves fan) want. the team is only 4.5 back of the phillies. the season is quite long. imagine if uggla gets hot and heyward gets healthy? this team is already in fairly good position–playing great defense and pitching well–its just a matter of time.

have faith, people. this team is very talented, and IS winning ball games.

Uknowme

May 29th, 2011
1:16 pm

I think we look pretty good in center and right fields right now. Let the two regulars sit and watch them work.

mdbravesfan

May 29th, 2011
1:17 pm

Trade Heyward for Tyler Pence. Let the Astros marvel at Jason Heywards ” potential”. Freeman will be the better of the two 3 years from now.

Steve

May 29th, 2011
1:29 pm

Heyward’s shoulder hurts from all the swings and misses.

Wizard

May 29th, 2011
1:47 pm

Schafer and Hinski must stay in the lineup. We have a power bat and speedy base runner in them, in addition to their excellent defensive play. I’m just afraid that when the two they are filling in for return Schafer will be shipped to Gwinnett and Hinski will go back to the bench.

Uggla will make us proud to have him at second as soon as he shakes whatever is messing up his confidence.

Despite being in the first small slump he’s had as a Brave, Prado is the best player on the squad.

We will do quite well if no changes are made in the present lineup, but we all know that won’t happen.

Steve

May 29th, 2011
1:51 pm

I agree totally with you wizard.

Steve

May 29th, 2011
2:00 pm

Mets are kicking Phillie butt right now!

T McHale

May 29th, 2011
2:32 pm

I miss Bobby Cox cheering on each Braves batter. I wonder if the players miss it also. I do feel that his style of encouragement would do Uggla a lot of good. Couldn’t hurt!

chief pitchanono

May 29th, 2011
3:12 pm

We just sound like a Broken record night after night. The Braves have to have one of these guys start hitting something close to normal if were gonna win this division. Any team who gets these type of numbers from there top two power hitters is gonna have major issues. I have to commend the whole team for being able to stay above 500. If we can somehow manage to stay close we will have shot when these two guys get it figured out. We just have to keep hope’n it happens sooner than later. I believe in Uggla, he’s a proven hitter. Heyward i’m not so sure about, time will tell. Go Braves!!

tim

May 29th, 2011
3:17 pm

heyward is a freakin slacker !!! uggla take the money and run!!!! braves brass should dump heyward now or make him finish the year in Pearl maybe then he will realize how lucky he truly is and appreciate the work needed to play in the SHOW. as for uggla another great FW deal he was not going to get that contract anywhere else. I promise you if he was in Pittsburgh or KC he would be tearing it up,why because nobody would be paying attention to him. He is now in the spot light and HE CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!! that is he is an overpaid mediocre ballplayer.

lee

May 29th, 2011
3:33 pm

heyward will take over as the team’s injury prone champ from chipper!! so until chipper finally retires, now the braves have two players that cant walk across the field without hurting themselves!!

Baby Doc@port-au-prince...

May 29th, 2011
4:33 pm

Uggla is cursed..When he turned down Marlin offer and went with Braves, several Haitian stadium employees in Miami put a Voo-Doo curse on him…Think It’s a Joke?…Just ask Fredi, who is a Miami Cubano ,about Haitian Voo-Doo curses,,,it’s SCARY…Uggla has to go to a Haitian Priest to have the curse reversed,,,Not Kidding…

Black Frenchy

May 29th, 2011
4:33 pm

Hello everybody! Can you guess what current Brave I am? Lots of hype. Golden Boy! Next Great Thing! New face of the Franchise!

No pepper games

May 29th, 2011
4:52 pm

Is it just me, Or does anyone else think that Heyward reminds them of another very talented, but often injured Braves player from days gone by….Bob Horner. Another player that was blessed with great baseball skills, but always seemed to be injury prone.
!

coo coo bird fan

May 29th, 2011
5:54 pm

Once again I log on after a long hiatus and find the same hating and overall poor sportsfans running on this blog. Unfortunate you guys actually call yourselves Braves fans. Uggla is in a slump, its baseball! Heyward is young and the future w/ a capable backup playing behind him, why risk a more serious injury if you dont have too? Wake up the 20th century is over you fogies, do you pay attention at all to the league? I tell you what, you take your negative opinions and you ball em up in a lil ball and start from the stretch and stick them where the sun dont shine. I always got my teams back…. period!

tim

May 29th, 2011
7:26 pm

5-10 games that is a slump 2 months is lack of talent. for the individual who mentioned horns the difference between uggla and horner is horner could flat play he never once had a slump that lastest 2 months. as for heyward he is a primadonna who believed his own press clippings about how great he is. the job was handed to him last year only because we had no alternatives.

HATinGA

May 30th, 2011
6:20 am

D Lowe looked hurt to me his last start, looked diff going to the plate and walked gengerly off between innings.

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