Jason Heyward is being held out of the Braves’ lineup for the second straight night as a result of being hit on the top of his left foot by a pitch during Sunday’s game against the Nationals.
Heyward dealt with some swelling and pain on Monday which made it difficult to run, but arrived at the ballpark today ready to play. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez decided to sit him as a precaution, but Heyward told David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he plans to return to the lineup tomorrow night.
“I let [Fredi Gonzalez] know before we got here that I wanted to play,” Heyward said before batting practice Tuesday. “He said he’d like for me to take another day, just to make sure. So I’m going to do everything today and run around on it, and play [Wednesday].”
It doesn’t sound like Heyward’s foot will be much of an issue moving forward, but his lack of production is an ongoing concern. The 21-year-old outfielder is batting .237 with a .703 OPS since returning from a sore right shoulder in June, including a .200/.284/.367 batting line over his last 17 games.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.