David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Braves outfielder Jason Heyward was removed in the first inning of Tuesday’s game against the Nationals with a strained muscle in his neck.
Heyward appeared to tweak something on a swing during his at-bat in the top of the first inning and was replaced in the outfield in the bottom of that frame by Evan Gattis. The Braves are calling Heyward day-to-day for now and will reexamine him on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old right fielder spent time on the disabled list in April and May after undergoing an appendectomy. He also missed some games just before the All-Star break with a hamstring strain.
Heyward is hitting .234/.339/.386 with 10 home runs and 31 RBI in 83 games this season for the Braves, who grew their lead in the National League East standings to 14 1/2 games with Tuesday’s win over Washington.
It was the 12th victory in a row for this 69-45 Atlanta team.
Pirates right-hander Joe Musgrove is done for the year after suffering an abdominal wall muscle strain and stress reaction in his pelvic bone. While he isn’t expected to undergo surgery or miss additional time in 2019, he’s been prescribed six weeks of rest before resuming any baseball-related activities.
Musgrove, 25, finished out his third year in Pittsburgh with a 6-9 record in 19 starts, backed by a 4.06 ERA, 1.8 BB/9, and 7.8 SO/9. Despite logging a career-high 115 1/3 innings at the major league level, he’s also been dogged by a string of injuries, from the shoulder strain that robbed him of eight weeks at the start of the season to an index finger infection that kept him sidelined for a minimum 10-day stay on the disabled list in June.
While he works his way back up to full strength yet again, rookie right-hander Nick Kingham is expected to cover for him and will make a spot start during the Pirates’ series finale against the Brewers on Sunday. The 26-year-old righty hasn’t started a single game for the team since August 1, and currently carries a 4.69 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.1 SO/9 over 71 innings out of the rotation and bullpen.