Braves general manager Frank Wren told Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday that outfielder Jason Heyward is making progress in his rehab from a deep thumb bruise and will begin taking batting practice this weekend.
“It’s going well,” Wren said, “he feels good and that’s a good sign.”
The rookie phenom was placed on the 15-day disabled list in late June after opening the season with a .251/.366/.455 batting line, 11 home runs and 46 RBI over his first 255 at-bats.
Heyward was selected to the National League All-Star roster last week and O’Brien says he may still play, but it’s hard to imagine the Braves allowing that.
The Midsummer Classic is on Tuesday — less than a week from now — and the 20-year-old right fielder should probably be given some at-bats on a minor league rehab assignment before he is activated and thrown into major league action, exhibition or not.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.