Heyward leaves early with strained hamstring
Outfielder to be evaluated Friday, thinks rest will likely do the trick for injury
ATLANTA -- Braves right fielder Jason Heyward exited Thursday night's 6-5 win over the Reds in the bottom of the second inning with a strained right hamstring after going from first to third on an infield single by Justin Upton.
Heyward ran hard to reach safely on an infield single before Upton hit a bouncer down the third-base line that coaxed a long throw to first from Todd Frazier. Heyward turned for third and appeared to pull up as he ran, staying down on the ground and holding his right leg in the hamstring area after sliding safely into the bag.
"A step and a half before I went to slide, I felt something sore first, then it got a little tight," Heyward said. "No pops, no pulls, tears, nothing, but it just got painful, and I went down and it was more painful."
After being examined by manager Fredi Gonzalez and team trainers, Heyward was able to walk off the field on his own power, although he said after the game that the hamstring tightened up again once he got back into the clubhouse.
"That's always a good sign, but you just never know how those things are going to get overnight, so we'll evaluate him in the afternoon when he comes in and see what we have there," Gonzalez said.
With the Braves poised to take the lead, Heyward tried to get back to the clubhouse with as little ceremony as possible.
"I felt like the pressure released some, I tried to get off the field and not hold the game up," Heyward said. "We had some momentum going. But walking off, it was pretty sore, and as my adrenaline went away, it became more sore."
Heyward said there was "no way" he would play in Friday night's game, but did not seem resigned to a stint on the disabled list. With the All-Star break around the corner, the Braves will more than likely take a day-by-day approach with the injury, unless Friday's re-evaluation reveals a more serious issue with the hamstring.
"We'll evaluate again tomorrow, of course, but right now, I don't think it'll be DL," Heyward said. "The fact that nothing's torn, nothing's pulled, I think it'll be good to just have some rest. It'll work out, and I won't know until tomorrow, see where we're at."
Eric Single is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.