Aug 21, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward (22) is hit by a pitch from New York Mets starting pitcher Jonathon Niese (not pictured) and is tended to by Mets catcher John Buck (44) and home plate umpire Greg Gibson (53) during the sixth inning of a game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Braves' Heyward Out With Broken Jaw


Jason Heyward was hit around his right jaw on a pitch by Jonathan Niese in the 6th inning of today’s game against the New York Mets, went to the ground in obvious pain, and had to leave the game.  He was able to walk away from the plate of his own power, but was clearly shaky.  It was a scary moment for Heyward, staff, fans, and clearly shook up Niese as well.  Even though coming on the heel of a rash of plunked batters lately, it was obviously an accident.

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Fans waited anxiously for any news as Heyward was first seen by Mets doctors, and then was taken to a New York hospital for x-rays and diagnosis.  David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweeted the information…

MLB reporter for the Atlanta Braves, Mark Bowman later reported that Jason suffered a fracture of the jaw, [broken in two places], and will likely have to miss anywhere from four to six weeks due to the injury.

The news comes as a blow to the Atlanta Braves who are currently sitting in 1st place in the NL East with a huge lead.  Jason Heyward has struggled at the plate this season, but since being given the unlikely role of leadoff hitter in the lineup, he has been on an absolute tear.  His average on paper doesn’t tell the full story of how hot Jason has been.  While an average of just .253 with 13 home runs and 37 RBI doesn’t seem like much, Jason has hit  .366  with 6 doubles, 5 HR, 15 RBI, and a 1.052 OPS in the past 21 games, and has been a pleasant surprise hitting in the leadoff spot.

Mark Bowman last reported that Jason will return to Atlanta tomorrow to have surgery for the injury to his jaw.

While we all certainly hope for a speedy recovery for Jason, and hope that there will be no lasting affects from the injury, the question for the organization going forward is how this could affect the Braves final push toward the playoffs.

Jason has performed so well in the leadoff spot after struggles this year in that role by B.J. Upton and Andrelton Simmons, it should be interesting to see who manager Fredi Gonzalez decides to place at leadoff.  Will he put Simba back in that role?  Simmons has been moved around in the lineup, like most players, way too much for my comfort, but Simmons seems to have found a place of comfort when being moved to the #7 and #8 holes.  Andrelton was moved up to the #2 hole for today’s game against the Mets, and we may find him in the leadoff going forward.

There are other options of course, but we’ll just have to wait to see.  Fredi Gonzalez has demonstrated that he has no issues mixing the lineup quite frequently, and for all our complaints about that, it has somehow worked.

Even if the leadoff is now uncertain, one thing that is certain is that for the next month and possibly more, Jason Heyward will be missed, and not just for his hot bat, but also for his gold glove quality, defensive presence in the outfield.  How to replace Heyward’s prowess in the outfield will be another question facing the Braves.  Our prayers and best wishes go out to Jason during his recovery, and all fans hope to see him well soon.

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  • Glen Morrow

    Well done Chris , I was thinking maybe they will put Jordan in Right Field and Justin in Center and either Reed or Gattis in Left Field. Just thinking here. This is a very Big loss for the Braves , wishing Jason all the best for a speedy recovery, Let’s go Braves Huddy and JHey and the rest of the Braves family are behind you. Go Get’em Braves.

    • cheadrick

      Thanks Glen. Well Reed Johnson should be back sometime soon, and he or Gattis can play left field. They would most likely put Jordan in center, and move Justin to right field. Justin is typically put in right when Jason is out, but he rarely plays center due to limited range. Reed can play multiple positions in the OF, so it will be good to get him back. Few can play right as good as Jason, but Reed has shown he can play it well when needed. The biggest hit will be at leadoff. Jason has really stepped up in that role, and I’m not sure anyone else has the comfort level to do that well. At least to this point, no one else has taken on the role well. Time will tell, but it could be a big hit for the next 6 weeks, and hopefully just 4. The issue with Jhey though, is not just healing from the Jaw, but possible concussive issues that the Braves will do well to tread lightly with.

  • fireboss

    I’m very saddened to hear this after the spark he added to our lineup leading off. I suspect that it will be Jordan BJ and Justin tomorrow. Jordan leading off will give us a better option than Simba. Bj will get the “this is your chance to shine” message and Reed isn’t running well enough to play every day. If he continues to flounder you may see a lot of Gattis and JT in left Jordan in Center and JUp in right if his back is okay. This is a significant blow to the post season IMO, One I’m not sure we have the horses to overcome. Marlon Byrd anyone? ewwww wash my mouth out now

    • cheadrick

      Callups may help some, but it IS a rough blow to the team for sure. Yeah, you’re right that Jordan is probably the best option at leadoff. I wouldn’t want to take Simba out of any comfort zone he has had. I also wouldn’t spend much time playing B.J. We have Justin, Jordan, and Gattis, and callups on the horizon. While Gattis is rough in left, BJ has proven he cannot step up, and JHey’s injury I doubt will help him do that.

      • fireboss

        I don;t trust BJ any farther than I can throw him but I think there are $15M reasons he gets first shot.

        There are ongoing concerns after taking a hit like Jason’s. Remember Marlon Byrd took a similar shot and had to wear that modified helmet for over a year and he wasn’t the hitter for 2. David Wright got clocked and it was over a year before he was right. There are few success stories after taking a shot like that.

        • cheadrick

          Yes, I remember that now that you mention it, and you’ve just depressed me completely. ;) haha. The only thing I would say is that Jhey is a specimen physically of a different order, and could heal faster. Plus, we really won’t know until the surgery is over. I’m being optimistic, but realistically I think Jhey helping the Braves in any real way won’t occur until 2015.

        • carpengui

          BJ had better figure it out quick. That’s the best option by far. Not optimistic.

  • cheadrick

    It has been reported that Jason is likely to miss the rest of the regular season. That is in keeping with the estimate that he will be out for 4-6 weeks. With approximately 6 weeks left in Aug. and September, we won’t likely see Jason until the playoffs, if then. The Braves will likely wish to be very careful with this injury. It’s not out of the realm of the possible that Jason could be back in a month, but that, I think, is not something fans should assume.

  • CLINHwithaZ_chad

    Wren is going to have to pull another rabbit out of his butt…. BJ will continue to be the rally killer he has proved to be all season. As long as he’s in you can pretty much count on regular blanks at the dish. Gattis is a favorite of mine but also has proved to be mediocre at best in the OF. This will undoubtedly carve out runs and 9th inning rallies unless management goes out on a limb and breaks out the piggy bank for a good rental. To limp this out with BJ and company is to throw in the towel IMO… Atlanta has to much at stake and there’s 10 days left before the expansion Wren…… So….. GET-R-DONE!!! />/>…/>.>/>/>>