Jason Heyward is back from the disabled list after being out since April 21 following an emergency appendectomy.
Heyward made it clear right away that he wasn’t going to rush back, targeting late-May, and ended up missing 23 games. Atlanta went 9-14 without Heyward after starting the season at 13-4, although considering he was hitting just .121 the hot start had nothing to do with him and fill-ins Evan Gattis, Reed Johnson, and Jordan Schafer certainly weren’t any worse.
Along with activating Heyward the Braves also placed reliever Jordan Walden on the DL with shoulder inflammation. Acquired from the Angels for Tommy Hanson this offseason, Walden has a 4.85 ERA in 13 innings while posting a very strong 16/3 K/BB ratio, but he was scored on each of his last three appearances.
Baseball is an Olympic sport once again and USA Baseball begins the road to qualifying for the 2020 Games in just a couple of weeks. They’ll be doing it with a new manager, though, as current team USA manager Joe Girardi has stepped down from the role in order to concentrate on his quest to return to managing in the big leagues.
Girardi has interviewed for the Cubs job already and is candidate for the openings with the Mets and the Phillies. His stepping down from the Olympic job suggests that he thinks he stands a pretty good chance of getting one of the seven current openings around the game. Or, at the very least, that he wishes to show clubs with openings that he’s serious.
Girardi will be replaced by Scott Brosius, who was poised to be Girardi’s bench coach with Team USA.
The team begins training in Arizona on October 21. It begins playing qualifier games in early November in Mexico. Eventually, the 2020 Olympic Games will feature a six-nation field.