Photo by Heather Middleton
Earlier this week, Braves' third baseman Chipper Jones spoke the truth in regards to right fielder Jason Heyward and his injured shoulder.
Paraphrasing the veteran sluggers' comments to the Atlanta media,
Jones simply said Heyward needs to do whatever he can to get back in the lineup. He also said Heyward at 80 percent is better than many players at 100 percent.
He also indicated major league clubhouses are full of guys who play through the pain. Jones should know. Injuries have been apart of his own baseball history, especially in the last few years. After all, Father
Time is catching up with him. Still, he has always managed to find away to get back into the lineup.
Because of Jones' own aliments, it would be easy to call the remarks hypercritical, but they were not, they were just words of wisdom from a veteran player who will one day take his rightful place in Cooperstown and baseball's Hall of Fame.
Unfortunately, some members of the national media took the story and ran with it. It seems they were trying to create a clubhouse controversy that never existed.
Jones was right on the money with his remarks. Guys do play hurt all the time, and Heyward at 80 percent is better than most at 100 percent.
That's something I discovered years ago when I first spotted an 8-year-old Jason Heyward playing for a local all-star team. He wasn't just the tallest kid out there, he was the best player too.
When he was playing in high school ball for Henry County, he hit some baseballs so far up into the stratosphere, I'm not sure they have come down yet.
In Heyward's defense, he should not be rushed back into the lineup.
The Braves are coming up on the all-star break in a few weeks, and it will be vital to have him back in the line up for those key upcoming series down the stretch.
At times, the Braves have been on a roller coaster ride this season, but they are a very good team.
Add Jason Heyward bat and glove to the lineup, and they become a dangerous team, destined to make the playoffs.
(Doug Gorman is sports editor of the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached a firstname.lastname@example.org)