Jason Heyward happy for a fresh start with the Cardinals

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The Braves traded outfielder Jason Heyward along with reliever Jordan Walden to the Cardinals in December in exchange for starter Shelby Miller and minor league pitcher Tyrell Jenkins. Though Heyward had been productive in his five seasons with the Braves, he didn’t quite live up to the expectations he brought with him as a 14th-overall pick in the 2007 draft.

As Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, Heyward thinks that his new home in St. Louis is “the best thing that could have happened to me.”

“I spent five years at this level with one organization and I still don’t know if I’ve seen the best of myself,” Heyward said. “I would say a fresh start would be good. I feel like that was kind of self-explanatory. Look at it. I do feel that this is the best thing that could have happened to me as far as playing this game, getting a new start somewhere else. Absolutely.”

Heyward also has the tough job of replacing prospect Oscar Taveras, who died in an October car accident in the Dominican Republic, in right field.

Heyward, at times a target of derision among Braves fans and pundits, batted .262/.351/.429 with 84 home runs and 292 RBI in 2,819 plate appearances. He can become a free agent after the season and has previously stated interest in discussing a contract extension with the Cardinals.

Joe Kelly’s suspension reduced to 5 games on appeal

Joe Kelly suspended eight
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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly had his suspension for throwing pitches near the heads of Houston hitters reduced to five games on appeal.

Kelly was originally penalized eight games by Major League Baseball on July 29, a day after throwing a 96 mph fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and two curveballs that brushed back Carlos Correa.

The Dodgers on Wednesday confirmed the reduced penalty.

Kelly went on the 10-day injured list retroactive to last Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. He will serve his suspension when he returns.

After striking out Corea, Kelly curled his lip into a pouting expression and exchanged words with the shortstop.

Benches cleared after Kelly’s actions during the sixth inning of Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at Houston in the teams’ first meeting since it was revealed the Astros stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title over the Dodgers.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts served his one-game suspension the same day the penalty was handed down. Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount.

Kelly denied that he purposely threw at the Astros. He has previously been suspended in his career for throwing at a batter.

The penalties were imposed by former pitcher Chris Young, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, who issued his first ruling since taking over the job from Joe Torre.