Jun 8, 2011, 10:32 AM EDT
I’m hesitant to say that this is an instance of Chipper Jones “calling out” Jason Heyward, but that’s only because the Braves have such little history of anyone calling anyone out for anything, I’m not certain that I can recognize a true Braves “calling out” when I see it. But yeah, Chipper is pretty much calling Jason Heyward out here:
“What Jason needs to realize is that Jason at 80 percent is a force, and Jason at 80 percent is better than a lot of people in this league. And that there are a bunch of his teammates that are out there playing with discomfort and not healthy, and still going at it.”
I may quibble a bit with Chipper here in that we have no evidence at all right now that Jason Heyward is capable of playing well when he’s hurting. Last year and this year, Heyward completely disappeared on offense when he was banged up. That is, when we knew he was banged up, which, either because he’s not forthcoming about injuries when they happen or the Braves are bad at diagnosing him, we’ve never really been sure about until things got really bad.
But Chipper’s point is not a bad one. Especially coming from a guy who knows a thing or a hundred about playing hurt. The Braves need Heyward’s bat now. Yesterday. If he’s truly at risk of injuring himself further, no, he shouldn’t be trying to play. But if it’s merely a comfort issue, Heyward needs to toughen up a bit and take his place in right field.
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