The Atlanta Braves lost Jason Heyward for the remainder of the regular season when he took a 90mph fastball from Jonathon Niese to the face last Wednesday. Heyward had surgery on Friday to repair his broken jaw and is said to be out for 4-6 weeks. That timeframe will put his possible return at the beginning of October. IF he’s able to return that early, it would be a miracle if he’s able to produce like he was during the month of August. He’ll have gone a month and a half without seeing major league pitching and he’ll be thrown in right away to face the best in the league. He might be a little hesitant to stay with pitches that are inside. I can’t blame him…I don’t think anyone can. These are all questions that Heyward and the Braves will have to face when the time comes.
Meanwhile, who will fill his shoes? B.J. Upton hasn’t shown us anything that could indicate he’ll start hitting now. You could argue that he hasn’t seen enough pitching consistently to get anything going. It’s a catch-22 with B.J. Do you put him out there to work out the rust or do you sit him and play guys that can get the job done? Jordan Schafer has proven that he deserves to be playing every day. He’s been productive and is getting on base. You have to feel better about him in the lineup rather than B.J. at this point.
The beautiful thing about having a 13-game lead in your division is that you can play around with these things. It’s pretty much safe to say the Braves will be playing in October, it’s just a matter of how long. They are still, however, playing for home field advantage. Something that the Braves would love to have in October.