Blog Entry

Chipper: Heyward needs to learn to play hurt

Posted on: June 8, 2011 12:24 pm
Edited on: June 8, 2011 1:15 pm

By Evan Brunell

To play or not to play?

That's a question that injured players have to grapple with, but Jason Heyward has been adamant that he will not return to the lineup until his shoulder is completely healed. He struggled to play through injuries as a rookie last season and at the start of this season, notes the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Heyward played 142 games as a rookie, hitting an impressive .277/.393/.456. His numbers could have been much better if not for groin, thumb and knee problems that hindered him all season and caused him to hit the 15-day DL at the end of June. In June he was clearly struggling with a .181/.287/.245 line. Heyward's struggles this year have resulted in a .214/.317/.407 line in 161 plate appearances, so he clearly needed a break because of his shoulder, which was sore to begin the year but graduated to outright pain by mid-May.

Braves veteran Chipper Jones, however, says that Heyward needs to reconsider his statement about being fully healthy before returning.

“I think where Jason might have erred was the comment that he made, ‘I’m not coming back until it doesn’t hurt anymore.’ That has a tendency to rub people the wrong way,” Jones said. “And we understand where he’s coming from -- he wants to be healthy when he plays, so he can go out and give himself the best opportunity to be successful. I get that.

“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.”

This is a sensitive topic, and there's no real answer. Everyone reacts and adapts to injuries differently, and baseball is a macho culture that demands everything it is to be macho: swagger, grit, manning up and playing through injury. No one likes an injury-prone player, as Boston's J.D. Drew can attest, who also struggles with perception about his attitude and the fact he spurned the Phillies in the 1997 draft. And sure, there are definitely plenty of players out there who refuse to play at anything less than 100 percent to pad statistics and ensure health, but there's plenty of other players who don't play unless they are 100 percent because they simply can't.

No one really knows which camp Heyward falls in, and he probably doesn't know himself either.

“There’s not [pat answers]; it’s within each individual player,” Jones acknowledged, but that didn't stop him from making his opinion known. And when the great Jones speaks, especially regarding someone who grew up in Georgia, many people including Heyward himself can't help but listen.

“It’s just a situation where, I don’t think he really realizes how much of an impact he has on the game just by his presence,” Jones added. “And that’s something I had to learn, too. When I started going through my injuries early on, obviously I wanted to get healthy and whatnot. But I realize that, even now, my presence in the lineup means something. Whether I’m healthy or not.

“And he’s more of a benefit to us standing out there in right field than he is down here in Florida [at extended spring training].”

Can you blame a 21-year-old who has a bad taste in his mouth from 2010  for taking a step back and looking to get his entire body healthy? The Braves won't benefit from Heyward at 80 percent for the rest of the year if that means he's 80 percent for the rest of his career. Heyward has the chance to be a once-in-a-generation hitter, and one could argue he's already proved his willingness to play through pain. Yet, here's Jones adding even more pressure to a person burdened by lofty expectations.

“[Heyward is] feeling a better, so that’s a good sign,” manager Fredi Gonzalez noted. “Probably about three or four days away from swinging a bat. What I mean by that, probably hitting off a tee, soft-toss.”

If Heyward progresses normally, he'll graduate to batting practice and/or an extended spring training game, then go on a minor-league rehab assignment for a few games. At the earliest, Heyward still figures to be out until Father's Day weekend. Hopefully that's fast enough for Chipper Jones.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 2:24 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 10, 2011 1:28 am

Chipper: Heyward needs to learn to play hurt

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 10:16 pm

Chipper: Heyward needs to learn to play hurt

Wonderful piece of writing ,Thought about experienced in it, This is really delightful to look into as well as the precious to gain near future,I will undeniably take note of the idea, extra carry out. Thanks for having. I enjoy the software.

Since: Sep 2, 2008
Posted on: June 10, 2011 8:20 am

Chipper: Heyward needs to learn to play hurt

The 1995 season was actually only 144 games. Not that it matters. If it had been the full 162, they could have lost 18 straight and still won the division by 3 games.

Since: May 9, 2010
Posted on: June 9, 2011 7:32 pm

Chipper: Heyward needs to learn to play hurt

Phillies fans never complain about injuries

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL, all we heard last year was how much they were hurt.



It always "go back and look what the braves did".......they did NOTHING.  All those divisions and not even ONE LEGITIMATE world series!  Hell, they one they did "win" wasn't even a full season!

This proves you know nothing about baseball, the strike was 1994, the Braves won the World Series in 1995. A FULL Season. Get educated about the game.



The most overrated, overhyped second division team in MLB history.  They'll move soon, onto another city, like they always have done

The Phillies are the most OVERrated overhyped wannabe "dynasty" i've ever seen since watchin baseball. As far as them moving to another city, don't count on it.

Since: Oct 9, 2006
Posted on: June 9, 2011 5:21 pm

Chipper hasn't played more then 130 games....

in a season in 10 years.  Sure Heyward needs to learn to play hurt, but coming from Chipper?  It's like Dom Deluise telling John candy he needs to lose weight.

Since: Sep 5, 2008
Posted on: June 9, 2011 4:16 pm

Chipper: Heyward needs to learn to play hurt

Evan Brunell, you are a jackass. This story did not need your snide, smartass comments added to it.

Since: Sep 2, 2008
Posted on: June 9, 2011 2:00 pm

Chipper: Heyward needs to learn to play hurt

Yes, I believe Chipper has always been clean, as evidenced by the fact that his peak offensively came between 2006-2008, well after the steroid era had ended. He hit over 40 HR once in his career, so I'm pretty sure he never averaged 40 HR per year. His HR pace has been consistent throughout his career, with a slight decline over the last couple of years (shocking for a guy in his late 30s). His reduced HR numbers when he was still capable of hitting 35 a year were due to playing 130 games per season, not to any dropoff in his power. Suffice it to say, when it comes to assessing Chipper, you have no idea what you're talking about as seeing him only during Phillies-Braves series. It could also suffice to say that I have no idea what kind of offensive player Schmidt was other than by looking at his stats - those that are generally accepted not crap like ELORater whatever that is. WAR is not accepted. Schmidt's higher WAR could be due to playing on less talented offenses. This would make Schmidt more valuable to his team, arguably, but it would not prove he was a better offensive player. OPS+ is the only stat you cite that has a marginal acceptance, and the difference between the two is neglible. My silly opinion that Veteran's Stadium is hitter friendly is based on what Chipper did there - .350, .471, .618 in 272 plate appearances. Maybe if he had played there for his career his EMOrating or whatever would be higher.

Bottom line: You are a Schmidt fan. I'm a Chipper fan. They're both great players, and we'll never be able to convince the other that one was better offensively. My original post stated only that Chipper will arguably be the greatest offensive 3rd baseman when he retires. An argument can clearly be made for this based on the NUMBERS -- not on all-star appearances and general popularity.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: June 9, 2011 1:38 pm

Chipper: Heyward needs to learn to play hurt

Nobody? So i guess you can complain about injuries because your team has more of them? LAFF. Every team has injuries junior.

Phillies fans never complain about injuries.  Only braves fan constantly talk about "what if's"....constantly.  Even they're poor excuses for tv announcers, Chip Carey the ninth, and Joe simpleton-simpson.  Constantly bemoaning all the injuries....get over it....homers.

Winning the division 4 years in a row is owning it? Wow you sure are the prime example of slow people. You need to go look back at what the Braves did. That was OWNING. I guess i'd be bitter too if i had to take a beatdown all those years.

It always "go back and look what the braves did".......they did NOTHING.  All those divisions and not even ONE LEGITIMATE world series!  Hell, they one they did "win" wasn't even a full season!  The most overrated, overhyped second division team in MLB history.  They'll move soon, onto another city, like they always have done.

   When will the Phillies get rid of that UGLY green looking thing they call a mascot, NO team in baseball uses mascots. I guess they did that way back when, so Philly fans needed something to enjoy while the team was getting owned every


Since: Jan 2, 2011
Posted on: June 9, 2011 12:37 pm

Chipper: Heyward needs to learn to play hurt

Heywards not a leader now, and never will be. He looking at longevity, not anything else.  Have a bad year you will be looking at triple a where you belong.

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