It sounds like Chipper Jones may soon get his wish.
Jason Heyward will begin a minor league rehab assignment tonight with Triple-A Gwinnett, reports David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It’s a rather surprising turn of events considering that Heyward just swung off a tee for the first time on Friday.
It’s not clear how long Heyward will spend in the minors, but O’Brien speculates that he could be back as soon as Wednesday or Thursday. It could just be a coincidence, but the Gwinnett Braves have a scheduled off-day on Wednesday. Either way, he’s close.
Heyward has been sidelined since May 22 with right shoulder soreness. The 21-year-old outfielder was batting .214/.317/.407 with seven homers and 14 RBI over his first 161 plate appearances before landing on the disabled list.
Austin Romine is starting at catcher and batting ninth for the Yankees in today’s ALCS Game 4 versus the Astros.
Gary Sanchez is still in the lineup, but he’s the DH. That means Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Headley and Matt Holliday are all on the bench.
Sanchez was lambasted for not holding on to the relay throw in Game 2, allowing Jose Altuve to score the winning run despite getting beat to the plate by the ball by several feet. That, combined with earlier passed balls, led some in the press to lobby for Romine to get the call behind the plate. Those calls tended to ignore the fact that Romine can’t hit a lick and that he is inferior to Sanchez when it comes to gunning down runners. Maybe a ball doesn’t skip by Romine that would have eluded Sanchez, but if I’m Jose Altuve or Alex Bregman or one of the speedier Astros, I’m running wild on Romine any time I get on base today.
The offensive knock is not quite as big a deal at the moment as it normally would be. Sanchez is in an 0-for-16 slump, but Romine isn’t replacing his bat he’s replacing either Ellsbury, Headley or Holliday. None of those guys are hitting at all, so I don’t suppose this is that big of a deal. Discuss amongst yourselves if you’d rather have a guy who is as cold as ice in the lineup who might hit versus a guy you can be pretty sure isn’t gonna hit regardless.
Either way, it’s a different look for the Yankees in Game 4.