Jason Heyward missed his second consecutive game with a sore right oblique muscle Tuesday and thinks it might be another day or two before he’s ready to return.
Heyward originally thought he’d be back doing some baseball activities on Tuesday and return to the lineup as soon as Wednesday. But on Tuesday he still wasn’t able to do much more than get treatment, which made him think it might not be until Thursday before he’s ready to get back in the lineup.
“I feel a lot better but I’m still not allowed to do anything,” Heyward said. “I’ve still got some tenderness. It is an oblique, so I do have to be careful. I may not be able to play tomorrow. We’ll see. I’ve got to be smart about it though.”
Heyward was available Monday night as a defensive replacement and the same was expected for Tuesday.
Heyward said he didn’t feel a twinge on any particular play during Sunday’s game but woke up Monday morning feeling soreness. That signaled to him that it’s not as serious as the oblique strain he suffered in 2009 in the minors when he missed three weeks.
The Braves know full well the hazards of full-fledged oblique strains after watching Brandon Beachy and Brian McCann miss seven weeks combined last year because of them.
Heyward and the Braves aren’t figuring this is one of those. Manager Fredi Gonzalez joked that another day for Heyward of watching his replacement in right field have a great offensive day, he might be asking back into the lineup Wednesday. Eric Hinske went 4-for-4 in right field on Monday night. Matt Diaz got the start against left-hander Cole Hamels on Tuesday.
“Maybe Diaz goes 3-for-4, 4-for-4 and Thursday becomes tomorrow,” Gonzalez said. “I’m sure he knows the Wally Pipp story.”
Pipp, of course, became legendary for losing his starting role to Lou Gehrig, who went on to play the next 2,130 games at first base for the Yankees.
Chipper Jones was out of the Braves lineup Tuesday night as well after playing back-to-back games against the Pirates. The Braves said it was a scheduled day off for Jones.