Atlanta Braves v San Francisco Giants

Chipper Jones says Jason Heyward needs to get back on the field

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I’m hesitant to say that this is an instance of Chipper Jones “calling out” Jason Heyward, but that’s only because the Braves have such little history of anyone calling anyone out for anything, I’m not certain that I can recognize a true Braves “calling out” when I see it. But yeah, Chipper is pretty much calling Jason Heyward out here:

“What Jason needs to realize is that Jason at 80 percent is a force, and Jason at 80 percent is better than a lot of people in this league. And that there are a bunch of his teammates that are out there playing with discomfort and not healthy, and still going at it.”

I may quibble a bit with Chipper here in that we have no evidence at all right now that Jason Heyward is capable of playing well when he’s hurting.  Last year and this year, Heyward completely disappeared on offense when he was banged up. That is, when we knew he was banged up, which, either because he’s not forthcoming about injuries when they happen or the Braves are bad at diagnosing him, we’ve never really been sure about until things got really bad.

But Chipper’s point is not a bad one. Especially coming from a guy who knows a thing or a hundred about playing hurt. The Braves need Heyward’s bat now. Yesterday.  If he’s truly at risk of injuring himself further, no, he shouldn’t be trying to play. But if it’s merely a comfort issue, Heyward needs to toughen up a bit and take his place in right field.

Corey Dickerson has lost 25 pounds

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Corey Dickerson #10 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a photo during the Rays' photo day on February 25, 2016 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Corey Dickerson of the Tampa Bay Rays wasn’t a super huge guy or anything, but he’s going to be smaller this year: he told reporters today that he’s lost 25 pounds. He attributes it to a new diet and a workout regimen and says it’ll help him with his running, swing and throwing.

Dickerson had a down year in 2016, so if losing 25 pounds is something he thinks will work for him he’s got nothing to lose. Of course the best way for him to improve his numbers is to convince the Rays to trade him back to Colorado, but that’s not likely.

James McCann is in The Best Shape of His Life

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.

We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.

James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:

Spring training is less than a month away, folks!