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.
The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.
Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.
Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.
The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.