We May Lose Heyward, Then The Bullpen Loses Game to Nats


jason-heywardIs anyone but me just a little concerned that Jason Heyward has been carrying an injury since spring training and Fredi Gonzales was under the impression that it was only a week or so old?  I know Heyward had that hot streak in April but in the last 4 weeks he was only .209/.287/.374/.661 and in the last seven days he sank to 067/.125/.067/.192. (AP Photograph)

Clearly there was something bothering him that wasn’t noticed or even worse he was not truthful to training staff about particularly since he told Dave O’Brien that it had been effecting his swing. He’s proving to be a fragile player in spite of a body worthy of a Greek god.

According to Better Medicine:

Arm numbness usually arises from a lack of blood supply to an area or nerve damage. Arm numbness can also result from infection, inflammation, trauma, malignancy, and other abnormal processes. . .Depending on the cause, the loss of sensation can disappear quickly . . . Chronic arm numbness generally indicates some level of damage to the nerves.

The last sentence explains why he told the Skipper it felt fine today and why we might have cause to be concerned for the future. His absence and the short period we were missing Alex Gonzales highlighted just how shallow (excluding David Ross) our bench is.

Brandon Hicks was replaced by Diory Hernandez who showed on Tuesday why he’s a career minor league shortstop and Joe Mather has been a disappointment at the plate (2-9 with a walk) so far. Only David Ross and Eric Hinske have been dependable and productive.

Don’t misunderstand what I’m going to say, I love Eric Hinske. He’s clutch, a winner, a great team mate and gives everything when he’s on the field. However, he is not an everyday player.  He’s slow – the great catch tonight in right is a routine fly for a good right fielder, every “Magellan” Heyward would have cruised to it – and has an infielder’s arm.   But we need a real fourth outfielder  that can play all three spots and get on base. (Nate McLouth is 2-for-20 (100) in his past six games, after going 20-for-56 (.357) in 15 games before.)

There’s not much out there trade wise now. I did notice that Scott Podsednik requested and was granted his release by Toronto.  He’s had a bum foot but that’s apparently healed and he just couldn’t get a spot with the Jays.  If no trade or signing happens perhaps Jose Constanza could take that spot on the roster.  I’m not sure he can play at the big league level but in 26 games at Gwinnett his line is .319/.358/.362/.720 which is about his two year AAA line. With Jordan Schafer and Wilkin Ramirez both struggling the Braves may well call up minor league veteran Constanza and give him a shot.

Speaking of shot, the Braves bullpen imploded in extras after Kimbrel blew the save in the 9th. While Sherrill actually pitched to and retired someone other than a left handed hitting pitcher Scott Linebrink came in and quickly showed gave away the farm hitting Pudge Rodriguez after getting him to 1-2  then Alex Cora, Ian Desmond and Jason Werth administered the coup de gras.

Surely we can’t continue to use Linebrink – ERA 7.50, WHIP 1.750 after tonight – and Sherrill whose ERA stays low because he only pitches to left handed hitting pitchers and weak hitting bench players.  With Peter Moylan having surgery to repair a bulging disc in his back on May 17th and expected to miss eight to 12 weeks, something has to be done. That may mean calling up Scott Proctor who has a 1.20 ERA and 0.857 Whip so far at Gwinnett. Certainly this can’t be allowed to go on much longer. . .or can it?

Tags: Eric Hinske Fredi Gonzalez George Sherrill Jason Heyward Scott Linebrink