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.
Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani put on a show during Saturday’s matinee against the Cubs. Up 2-1 in the third inning, the hurler hooked a Brian Duensing fastball over the left field fence for his first career home run — and first career grand slam:
Grand slams are impressive no matter the player or situation, but they’re made all the more special in rare circumstances like this one. Not only is DeSclafani the first pitcher to deliver a grand slam in 2018, but he’s the first Reds hurler to do so in nearly 60 years. Per MLB.com’s Brian Scott Rippee, right-hander Bob Purkey was the last to hit a slam for the Reds in 1959, when he took Cubs reliever John Buzhardt deep in the third inning of a 12-3 drubbing.
The 28-year-old righty had a decent outing on the mound as well, holding the Cubs to two runs, four walks, and three strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings before passing the ball to reliever Michael Lorenzen. Entering Saturday, he carried a 2-1 record in three games, with a 4.60 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 8.6 SO/9 across 15 2/3 innings — not too shabby for someone who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016.
The Reds currently lead 8-2 in the bottom of the seventh.