The diagnosis is in on Braves outfielder Jason Heyward, who was struck in the face with a Jon Niese fastball in Wednesday afternoon’s 4-1 defeat of the Mets. And it’s no good for anyone involved.
According to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, Heyward has a fracture in his right jaw and will likely be out for the next 4-6 weeks — which could very well mean he is done for the rest of the 2013 regular season.
The Braves have a massive cushion over everyone else in the National League East standings and can use these next several weeks to get B.J. Upton, Jordan Schafer and Evan Gattis regular at-bats, but a broken jaw is a serious injury and Heyward was one of the hottest hitters in baseball. It’s fair to wonder how six weeks off might affect his stroke.
Atlanta opens a big four-game series in St. Louis on Thursday night.
UPDATE, 8:02 p.m. ET: Bowman reports that Heyward will undergo jaw surgery on Thursday.
Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner left Monday’s Cactus League game against the Athletics after he was hit by a pitch. He went for X-rays, revealing that he suffered a broken wrist, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. Shaikin adds that Turner is unlikely to return before May, noting that Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman missed six weeks with a similar injury last year and Astros outfielder George Springer missed nine weeks in 2015.
Needless to say, this is a huge loss for the Dodgers. Last year, Turner hit .322/.415/.530 with 21 home runs and 71 RBI in 543 plate appearances, helping the Dodgers reach the World Series. He made the All-Star team for the first time in his career and finished eighth in NL MVP balloting.
Thankfully, the Dodgers have some versatile players on the roster. Logan Forsythe could move from second base to third, giving Chase Utley more playing time at second. Enrique Hernandez could man the hot corner as well. Chris Taylor has played some third base, or he could shift to second base in Forsythe’s stead. The club should shed some light on how it plans to move forward following Turner’s injury.