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.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.