Jason Heyward "Perhaps" Back By End of the Week, Ian Happ Will Start Again Tonight

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Jason Heyward “Perhaps” Back By End of the Week, Ian Happ Will Start Again Tonight

Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward was coming off a terrible 2016 season where his swing disintegrated as the year went on (in part thanks to an early-season wrist injury), and spent the offseason building the swing back from the ground up. The early returns were good. The swing looked better, he looked less late on fastballs, he was driving the ball more consistently with better exit velocity, and the early-season results were better than he’s had in several years (he’s typically been a slow starter).

And then Heyward made a great play in the outfield a couple Fridays ago, quietly hurting his knuckle in the process, and he hasn’t played since. The timing, for Heyward and the continued revamping of his swing, was less than ideal.

Although Heyward is eligible to come off of the disabled list today, that isn’t going to happen. Instead, the hope is that he’ll be back later this week:

Heyward’s impact in the outfield cannot be overstated, and although the Cubs will continue to make due as best they can in Heyward’s absence, there is no part of me that does not want him back and fully healthy as soon as possible.

When that happens, it’s possible it will mean the demotion of Ian Happ … whom I also want to see succeeding at the big league level, but whom I also understand could use more development time at AAA until more consistent appearances are available/needed at the big league level. Keep in mind, it’s not just Heyward’s absence that dictated Happ’s presence – it was also the weekend unavailability/limitations of Kris Bryant, Ben Zobrist, Jon Jay, and Addison Russell. Those guys are trickling back this week, and it will necessarily squeeze out guys like Jeimer Candelario and Ian Happ, maybe even before Heyward returns.

For now, though, Happ is going to get at least one more start:

Here’s hoping Happ continues to play well, does big things in his Wrigley debut, and makes it tough on the Cubs in their roster decisions going forward. That’s really all you can hope for a prospect who gets a brief shot like this.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.