Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward is eligible to return from the seven-day concussion disabled list when the team hits the road on Tuesday, but manager Joe Maddon told reporters there’s no concrete timetable for his return to the field just yet. Heyward suffered a concussion after crashing into the wall on an attempted home run catch during last Sunday’s series finale against the Cardinals.
This is the first serious injury the veteran outfielder has sustained during the 2018 season, and obviously one that still requires a certain degree of caution. He’s batting an underwhelming .227/.315/.340 with six extra-base hits and a .656 OPS through his first 113 plate appearances of the season, a significant regression from the .293-average, 5.6-fWAR totals he posted several years ago.
In the absence of their starting right fielder, the Cubs will likely continue to roll with Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist in the corner spot. Both players have impressed so far this spring; Bryant slashed .294/.433/.597 with seven homers and an NL-best 1.030 OPS in 150 PA, while Zobrist maintained a .309/.378/.420 batting line through 90 PA this spring, despite putting up just five extra bases and one home run so far. Heyward is still expected to travel with the team during their eight-game road trip, however, so he’ll be available to slot into the lineup just as soon as the team feels he’s ready to do so.