Braves outfielder Jason Heyward wore a protective guard on his helmet after returning from a broken jaw last season and Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that he’ll continue to wear it in 2014.
Heyward broke his right jaw when he was hit in the face by a pitch by Mets’ left-hander Jon Niese last August 21 and required surgery to have two plates inserted. While it was initially feared that he would miss the rest of the season, he managed to make it back within a month and was active for the Braves’ NLDS loss to the Dodgers.
Heyward, 24, hit .254/.349/.427 with 14 home runs and 38 RBI in 104 games last season. He’s expected to be the regular leadoff hitter for the Braves this year.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.