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.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.