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.
CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.
Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”
On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”
Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.
Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.