The Cubs activated outfielder Jason Heyward from the 10-day disabled list on Sunday, per a team announcement. He’s expected to be made available off the bench as the club goes for the sweep against the Reds, though it might be a while longer before he’s cleared to make another start in the outfield.
It’s been over two weeks since Heyward last appeared for the Cubs. He sustained a right hamstring injury on a diving play in the outfield last month and has been slowly working his way back to full strength ever since. As the team is currently on the cusp of postseason contention, it makes sense that they’d approach Heyward’s recovery process with some measure of caution in order to keep him healthy for their run in October.
Heyward, 29, is rounding out his third full season in Chicago. In what has been his most valuable season with the team to date, he’s maintained a .275/.342/.399 batting line with 32 extra-base hits and a .740 OPS through 451 plate appearances.
The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.
Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:
I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.
In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.
“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”
Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.
For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.