Braves' Heyward pulled with left groin injury

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heyward headshot.jpgBudding outfielder Jason Heyward was lifted in the second inning of Wednesday’s game against the Washington Nationals due to a left groin injury, the Braves revealed to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman.

Melky Cabrera replaced the young superstar in right field and may need to man the position for the next few days while Matt Diaz covers left.  Heyward, 20, has youth on his side and should be able to bounce back and put the issue behind him.  But he’s sure to miss at least Thursday’s series finale with the Nationals.

Heyward is batting an alarming .286/.408/.619 this season with eight home runs and 24 RBI in just 26 games.  He’s been as good as advertised, if not better.

Padres sign Aaron Loup to a one-year deal

Aaron Loup
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Free agent lefty reliever Aaron Loup has been given a locker in the Padres’ clubhouse, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reported Sunday. Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Loup received a one-year MLB deal with a club option for 2020. The Padres will shift right-hander Garrett Richards to the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster.

Loup, 31, began the 2018 season with the Blue Jays and was traded to the Phillies for minor league right-hander Jacob Waguespack at the midseason deadline. The veteran left-hander pitched just two innings in Philadelphia before hitting the injured list with a forearm strain and returned for a handful of appearances at the end of the year, bringing him up to a 4.54 ERA, 3.2 BB/9, 10.0 SO/9, and 0.3 fWAR across 39 2/3 combined innings.

Assuming health issues don’t complicate his next campaign in San Diego, Loup will be added to the bullpen alongside fellow left-handers Matt Strahm and José Castillo (with the possible late addition of southpaw reliever Brad Wieck, who underwent surgery for testicular cancer earlier this year). There are worse places to be — according to FanGraphs, the Padres’ ‘pen jumped from second-worst in 2017 to second-best in the league with a cumulative 3.53 ERA, 3.31 FIP, and 8.7 fWAR in 2018.