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.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.