The Braves currently hold a 14-game lead over the Washington Nationals in the NL East, so this is not a huge blow at the moment. Barring some insane collapse the Braves are going to make the playoffs. However if Heyward can’t return for the postseason then it becomes a problem for Atlanta. Heyward has battled injuries all season and though his offensive numbers aren’t eye-popping (.253/.347/.771, 13 HR, 37 RBI) he is a very important defensive player for the Braves. He hadn’t recorded an error all season and had a perfect fielding percentage. The Braves have lost six players to season-ending operations, including starting pitcher Tim Hudson and key relievers Eric O’Flaherty and Jonny Venters.
Originally posted on HardballTalk:
Braves outfielder Jason Heyward underwent surgery today after he fractured his right jaw when he was hit in the face by a pitch from Mets’ left-hander Jon Niese yesterday. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal has the latest news on when we can expect to see him on the field again:
Heyward was originally estimated to miss 4-6 weeks, so this isn’t exactly a surprising development. Mark Bowman of MLB.com notes that Heyward didn’t have to have his jaw wired shut after surgery, which is encouraging news for his ability to maintain strength during his rehab process, but he’s far from a lock to make it back for the postseason. And even if he does, it’s fair to wonder how the time off will affect him. Jordan Schafer and Evan Gattis will both be asked to take on larger roles in the Braves’ outfield moving forward.