Heyward does not expect to play Tuesday
Jason Heyward will not play a Minor League rehab game with Triple-A Gwinnett on Sunday and the Braves 20-year-old right fielder doesn’t expect to play in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game.
After completing a pain-free batting practice session the Gwinnett club Saturday evening, Heyward said he didn’t experience any problems with his jammed left thumb. But he and the Braves decided he is not ready to play in a rehab game Sunday.
Because of this, Heyward doesn’t believe he will take advantage of the opportunity to serve as one of the National League’s starting outfielders Tuesday night. He has been sidelined since June 26 with the thumb ailment he suffered while sliding into third base on May 14.
“I haven’t played any games,” Heyward said told reporters when asked if he still planned to play Tuesday. “I would have liked to rehab in the game [Friday] and [Saturday]. But we figured this was the best timetable for it. It might have been rushing it a little bit.”
Heyward will travel to Anaheim on Sunday to begin enjoying the All-Star Game festivities. He will likely take batting practice with his National League teammates on Monday and then be unavailable for Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic.
“I’m just going to go and see what happens,” Heyward said. “We’ll play it by ear. What I’d like to do is be ready to play July 15, the first game of the second half for us. I’d also like to respect the National League team and give them the best chance to win the game. I don’t want to be selfish and play in the game, because this one does count.”
Heyward impressed during Saturday’s batting practice session, which consisted of 50 swings.
“I was able to take that high pitch up and away and stay on top of it and use my top hand to hit it,” Heyward said. “I couldn’t do that before, so that’s a sign it’s feeling better.”
Thanks to Guy Curtright, a regular MLB.com contributor, for supplying Heyward’s remarks after today’s BP session.