The first Giants batter of tonight’s game, Denard Span, drove a Jake Arrieta offering 400+ feet to the deep right center field corner at AT&T Park. Almost no outfielder would have even been within five feet of that ball when it came down.
Fortunately and unfortunately, Jason Heyward is not just any outfielder. He sped back almost perfectly on the ball, extended himself to dive and glove it. It was an incredible catch.
Heyward slide awkwardly into the wall from there, and rolled over in immediate, obvious, and significant pain. He stayed down for a while as the trainers checked on him.
Here’s the video of the play:
Although he eventually walked off the field under his own power, the discomfort was still apparent. I don’t want to speculate on the injury, but Heyward appeared to be holding/favoring his right side and/or hip. The trainer was holding his left arm, however. Even if those things were indicative of where the injury was located, it really doesn’t tell us much of anything about the specific injury or the severity.
All we can do is wait and hope the Cubs haven’t just lost another key outfielder for a long period of time.
Heyward was replaced in right by Kris Bryant, and Tommy La Stella entered to play third base.
UPDATE: Official word from the Cubs:
Jason Heyward is under evaluation for an injury to his right torso/abdominal region. pic.twitter.com/OhJjhPmRVz
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 21, 2016
So, no real specifics just yet. That part of the body, what you’d be worried about is an oblique or a rib cage injury, which can be terribly nagging for a hitter to get over. Just last year, Tommy La Stella missed almost four months with an oblique injury (though that included a re-aggravation of the injury). Just because a guy’s legs and arms are OK doesn’t necessarily mean the injury isn’t serious.
That said, there are no specifics here. So I’m gonna chill with the doom and gloom, because it’s also possible this winds up a minor issue, where the impact of the ground and wall hurt a whole lot, and everyone wanted to be cautious, but the actual injury is not that severe. That, too, is possible.
We’ll keep you posted.