The Braves’ short two-game series in New York wasn’t quite short enough. The team watched their dynamic young right fielder Jason Heyward get struck in the right jaw by a Jonathon Niese fastball in the sixth inning Wednesday giving the Braves another horrific-looking injury at Citi Field in their past two trips here. X-rays revealed that Heyward’s jaw is fractured in two places and he’s expected to miss four to six weeks. Heyward will have surgery Thursday in Atlanta. Almost a month ago July 24 when the Braves were last here Tim Hudson fractured his ankle on a gruesome play when Eric Young Jr. stepped on his leg crossing first base. Oddly enough the Braves won both of those games including Wednesday 4-1 on a three-run 10th-inning home run by Chris Johnson. The Braves had rallied to even the score 1-1 two batters after Heyward gingerly walked off the field under his own power. Heyward was taken to a Manhattan-area hospital and stayed there with Braves trainer Jeff Porter to undergo X-rays and further evaluation as the Braves headed for St. Louis. Heyward had been a key catalyst during the Braves’ recent 20-4 run. He was batting .349 (30-for-86) in the past 22 games since Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez moved him into the leadoff spot with 24 runs and 15 RBIs. When asked immediately after the game if the team was concerned about a broken jaw a concussion or both Gonzalez said all of the above. “I’m sure when you get hit in the head everything comes into play teeth jaw concussion” Gonzalez said. “Hopefully the least of the three maybe some teeth instead of a broken jaw or concussion but we’ll let the doctors put him through the paces there at the hospital and keep our fingers crossed.” Gonzalez said Heyward never lost consciousness but was spitting blood from the inside of his mouth. The count was 1-2 when Heyward was hit by a 90 mph fastball in the face near the right ear flap of his helmet. “It was tough” Mets left-hander Niese told reporters afterward. “I wanted to elevate a fastball right there and then it didn’t slip out of my hands but it kind of ran in on him. Obviously no intent but I just felt bad. It’s every pitcher and every hitter’s worst nightmare. Just hope he’s OK.” Heyward’s grandparents attended Wednesday’s game and joined Heyward in the Braves’ clubhouse shortly after he was hit.
Jason Heyward out 4-6 weeks with broken jaw
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Aug 22