David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Braves outfielder Jason Heyward was removed in the first inning of Tuesday’s game against the Nationals with a strained muscle in his neck.
Heyward appeared to tweak something on a swing during his at-bat in the top of the first inning and was replaced in the outfield in the bottom of that frame by Evan Gattis. The Braves are calling Heyward day-to-day for now and will reexamine him on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old right fielder spent time on the disabled list in April and May after undergoing an appendectomy. He also missed some games just before the All-Star break with a hamstring strain.
Heyward is hitting .234/.339/.386 with 10 home runs and 31 RBI in 83 games this season for the Braves, who grew their lead in the National League East standings to 14 1/2 games with Tuesday’s win over Washington.
It was the 12th victory in a row for this 69-45 Atlanta team.
Because of course he did.
It wasn’t just his first at bat, but it was his first pitch. It came off of John Kilichowski, an 11th round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals out of Vanderbilt. The ball went out to left center, off the bat of the lefty Tebow.
Next time, meat, throw him a breaking ball.
The other night, Blue Jays reliever Joaquin Benoit needed help getting off the field after the second benches-clearing incident with the Yankees. It was later revealed that Benoit tore a calf muscle during the fracas, ending his season.
Yesterday he pointed the finger at just about everyone else for the incidents like the one that led to his injury. Hitters specifically. From The Star:
“I believe as pitchers we’re entitled to use the whole plate and pitch in if that’s the way we’re going to succeed,” Benoit said. “I believe that right now baseball is taking things so far that in some situations most hitters believe that they can’t be brushed out. Some teams take it personally.”
That “take it personally” line is interesting coming from Benoit as, in this instance, it seemed pretty clear that the whole plunking exchange which led to his injury started because Josh Donaldson took an inside pitch that did not seem to be a purpose pitch at all, too personally.
Did Benoit take a veiled swipe at his teammate here? If so, that’s pretty notable. If not it’s notable in another way, right? As it suggests that Benoit believes it’s OK for his teammates to take issue with inside pitches but anyone else who does is part of the problem?
Which is it, Joaquin?