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.

Tags: Atlanta Braves FanSided

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