Jason Heyward has lost weight and is moving around gingerly since having an emergency appendectomy in Denver last Monday. He expects to return later this month.
ATLANTA — Back with the Braves on Monday for the first time since his emergency appendectomy, right fielder Jason Heyward was noticeably slimmer, moving gingerly around the clubhouse and, he said, nowhere near being able to swing a bat.
His goal is to return to the lineup no later than the end of May, but first he has to get back to feeling normal again.
“It feels like I could pull something,” Heyward said Monday, exactly one week after undergoing surgery in Colorado during Atlanta's road trip. “That's the feeling. Not that I will (but) it feels like if I do anything too quick that's what will happen.”
Heyward said his daily routine consists of trying to sleep in spite of the discomfort, eating and resting. He said he watches the Braves play but finds it frustrating because he wants to be on the field.
Heyward said he still hasn't lifted objects during his daily routine (though he admits to picking up a bat a time or two) and plans to start normal activities a week from now. Heyward said the sensation of feeling as if he might pull something is a "mental thing" that comes with the surgery and that the first step in getting back on the field is doing normal activities and then getting feedback from his body “to know that it won't be bad.”
But Heyward said he and the Braves agree that he needs to take his time because of the risk of a more serious injury if he rushes back.
“The consequences of coming back too soon would be a pulled oblique (muscle), which would mean two months probably, or a pulled hernia, which would mean more time,” he said. “I don't want any of those to happen. My goal, I would like to say, (is to be back in the lineup) no later than New York at the end of May. But, again, I have to wait for my body to tell me.”
Heyward is batting .121 with two home runs and five RBI in 58 at-bats. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has used Jordan Schafer and Reed Johnson in right field during Heyward's absence. Gonzalez said he thinks Heyward benefited from being around the team again Monday — but he's not putting a timetable on Heyward's return.
“It's whenever he feels comfortable,” Gonzalez said. “I leave that up to the athletes and the trainers and the doctors. He may say that (the end of May) and then, all of a sudden, five days from now he wakes up and feels great. You never know. I leave that kind of stuff alone.”
Heyward, 23, initially thought he was suffering from a stomach virus during the Braves' series at Pittsburgh. His condition worsened once the Braves arrived in Colorado; Heyward said he at first felt pain in the general abdominal area, but by Monday morning it was acute pain in a smaller area.
“It felt like a lump on the lower right side, and I thought, 'OK, this is no longer a stomachache,’ ” Heyward said.
Heyward called on Braves trainer Jeff Porter and team physician Joe Chandler. Chandler accompanied Heyward to Rose Medical Center, where Heyward said he was told he had appendicitis "and you don't have much longer before something bad can happen."
Heyward said he was in surgery within an hour and the procedure took about 15 minutes. A cousin who lives in Denver was able to keep his family informed.
“It went from, ‘Hey, I'm at the hospital to get checked on' to “Hey, I just got out of surgery," Heyward said. "That's how quick that turnaround was.”
Nats discover arm issue with Strasburg, who is not expected to miss any time; Giants’ offensive woes no fault of Posey, Sandoval
WASHINGTON — Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg will make his next start after being treated for forearm tightness after Monday’s game, GM Mike Rizzo told the Washington Post on Tuesday.
Strasburg’s arm is “structurally perfect.” He merely felt “irritation in his forearm” Monday. “No problem,” Rizzo told the paper.
Strasburg, 24, allowed two runs in six innings against the Atlanta Braves on Monday. He’s 1-4 with a 3.13 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings in six starts this year.
After having Tommy John surgery in 2010, the Nationals limited their ace to 28 starts and 159 1/3 innings last season to try and lessen the risk of future injury.
POSEY, SANDOVAL DOING THEIR JOBS: Two bright spots during the Giants’ recent woes: their Nos. 3-4 hitters, Pablo Sandoval and Lee County native Buster Posey.
Both contributed Monday in a 6-4 win at Arizona that ended San Francisco’s five-game losing streak, but only one made it to the end of the game.
Sandoval went 2-for-3 with an RBI single before exiting when his balky right elbow acted up. He did not play in Tuesday’s game against the Diamondbacks.
Posey went 1-for-2 with three walks, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. In that stretch, the reigning NL MVP is hitting .406 (13-for-32) with three homers and nine RBI. Before that, he was batting .213 (10-for-47) with no homers and five RBI in 14 games.
Manager Bruce Bochy wanted to rest Posey along with second baseman Marco Scutaro on Sunday, but both players all but insisted to play, hoping to wipe out the Giants’ losing streak. Both were in the lineup again Monday, and Scutaro went 3-for-4.
“It’s always frustrating when you lose,” Posey said. “I don’t sense any tension or anybody overly frustrated. It’s more of a drive and willingness to want to work and get back on track.”
Sandoval leads the Giants with 20 RBI and has hit safely in 19 of 25 games. He had four hits Sunday, all singles, to match a career high.
Things weren’t going so well for Scutaro, whose big game Monday raised his average to .237. Bochy said he expects to rest Scutaro during the upcoming three-game series in Arizona and give rookie Nick Noonan a start, but that plan might change depending on Sandoval’s status.
Noonan replaced Sandoval on Monday and went 1-for-2 with a double, his first major league extra-base hit.