Jason Heyward to miss rest of regular season following surgery on jaw

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Braves outfielder Jason Heyward underwent surgery today after he fractured his right jaw when he was hit in the face by a pitch from Mets’ left-hander Jon Niese yesterday. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal has the latest news on when we can expect to see him on the field again:

Heyward was originally estimated to miss 4-6 weeks, so this isn’t exactly a surprising development. Mark Bowman of MLB.com notes that Heyward didn’t have to have his jaw wired shut after surgery, which is encouraging news for his ability to maintain strength during his rehab process, but he’s far from a lock to make it back for the postseason. And even if he does, it’s fair to wonder how the time off will affect him. Jordan Schafer and Evan Gattis will both be asked to take on larger roles in the Braves’ outfield moving forward.

Orioles sign Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar
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The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.

Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.

Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.