Heyward proving hazardous to health of vehicles
Jason Heyward will be the first to admit that it really doesn’t matter what he does at the plate while one of the Braves coaches are feeding him pitches.
But my plan to avoid writing something about his batting practice exploits for a third consecutive day were erased when Bobby Cox informed us the club is actually thinking about instituting protective measures to guard against the fact that Heyward has spent this week attempting to do more damage to vehicles than a Toyota manufacturer.
When architects constructed the Braves Spring Training complex (which officially became ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex on Thursday afternoon) they obviously didn’t account for this Heyward-like power that provides a daily threat to the cars of the team’s execs who park just beyond the right field wall.
But when he deposited a BP pitch into the sunroof of assistant general manager Bruce Manno’s car on Tuesday afternoon, Heyward produced expensive reminder that these cars aren’t safe when he’s standing in the left side of the batter’s box.
Damages to Manno’s team-issued car were set at $3400.
Truth be told, these cars were in dangerous position before Heyward arrived on the scene. Kurt Kemp, the club’s director of player personnel, had two of his windshields broken last year and Heyward had nothing to do with that shattered glass.
When Cox told us the club was thinking about putting some protective netting in front of the cars, it seemed like he was initially joking. But he said he was serious and then jokingly said the club was going to start fining Heyward, whose left-handed swing has already produced a number of impressive BP blasts this week.
“We should fine him,” Cox joked. “Make him hit the ball the other way.”
As some of you may already know, Heyward is more than capable of also showing his power to the opposite direction. During an intra-squad game last year, he directed a Jair Jurrjens pitch off the scoreboard located in left-center field.
Cox on Chipper: When Chipper Jones was struggling down the stretch last year, he mentioned that he would contemplate retiring if he endured another season as frustrating as 2009 proved to be.
When asked about this by a reporter on Thursday, Cox quickly said he never gave much thought to the possibility that Jones would choose to walk away from the game before completing his three-year contract extension that guarantees a $13 million salary each of the next three seasons.
“I never took it to heart at all,” Cox said. “He’ll play three more years and play good.”
Schafer update: Like Jurrjens is taking things slow with the hope that his sore shoulder will be strong enough for him to begin throwing off a mound again next week, Jordan Schafer understands there’s no reason for him to push too hard while dealing with a hand that is still dealing with effect that he was in a cast for 18 weeks last year.
Schafer said that he plans to begin swinging a bat again on Friday. He took the past two days off because his surgically-repaired left hand was “feeling weak”.
“I’ve got to build all of those muscles back up,” Schafer said Thursday morning. “It feels a lot better today. I just want to get all of my strength back. I’ve got six weeks to get ready for the season. I’m not in any hurry.”
Rotation plans : Cox met with pitching coach Roger McDowell after Thursday’s workout to discuss the Grapefruit League rotation. He will likely reveal the plans within the next two days.