Update: Braves' Jason Heyward suffers fractured jaw

AP Sports Writer, AJCAugust 21, 2013 

NEW YORK -- Jason Heyward suffered a fractured right jaw in two places when he was hit by a pitch Wednesday. The Braves right fielder is expected to miss the rest of the regular season.

Heyward was hit by a 90 mph four-seam fastball in the side of the face, near the right ear flap of his helmet from left-hander Jon Niese and immediately went to the ground. Heyward was tended to by Braves trainer Jeff Porter for a few minutes as he laid on the ground at home plate. Eventually he was able to get up and walk off gingerly on his own.

Heyward was evaluated by Mets doctors at Citi Field and then transported to a local hospital.

This was the second ominous moment for the Braves at Citi Field in recent weeks. The Braves watched Tim Hudson fracture his right ankle covering first base on July 24 during their previous trip to face the Mets. He underwent season-ending surgery two days later.

"It's just a fluke thing that it's happened twice here," Chris Johnson said after his three-run homer in the 10th inning sent Atlanta to a 4-1 victory.

Heyward's grandparents were at Citi Field and accompanied him to the hospital, along with trainer Jeff Porter. Heyward and Porter stayed behind in New York as the Braves traveled to St. Louis for a four-game series that begins Thursday night.

"He never lost consciousness," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Right before he went to the hospital he popped his head into the clubhouse to say goodbye to some of the guys.

"It's not the ballpark, it's just a matter of freak stuff happening. It can happen anywhere."

Atlanta, with baseball's best record and a huge division lead, got an RBI single from Freddie Freeman, and another impressive start by rookie Alex Wood in splitting the two-game series for its 20th victory in 24 games. The Braves also benefited from a disputed call in the 10th.

Andrelton Simmons singled off Scott Atchison (3-2) with two outs, and Freeman hit a two-strike grounder back toward the box that ticked off the bottom of Scott Rice's glove and rolled behind him. The reliever retrieved the ball and fired to first, where Freeman was called safe.

Mets manager Terry Collins came out to argue with umpire Jerry Layne. Johnson then launched a drive to left field on Greg Burke's first big league pitch since he was recalled from the minors Sunday.

"We were trying to come in there on Chris. We'd been doing it all game. It was basically where I wanted to put it," Burke said. "It was up a little bit. I went back and looked, it was off the plate, but I guess there's a reason why the guy's hitting .300."

Johnson, who began the day second in the NL in batting at .334, struck out his previous three times up.

By the time Johnson crossed the plate, Layne had ejected New York second baseman Daniel Murphy. Collins came out for a more vehement argument this time, tossed his hat to the ground and was thrown out by Layne, as well.

"We had a difference of opinion," Murphy said. "Right or wrong, I'd prefer not to get thrown out right there. But I think tensions were running high and mine boiled over."

Collins walked back to the dugout without retrieving his cap, leaving it there in the dirt by Layne's feet.

"Jerry just said he thought he got it right. I didn't have much to say that was very nice," Collins said. "I went out to protect Murph. I couldn't get him back in the game, so I might as well come up with him."

The crowd of 22,935 gave Layne a derisive cheer when he called a Mets runner safe in the bottom of the 10th.

Luis Avilan (5-0) pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth, and Craig Kimbrel reached 40 saves for the third straight season. He has converted 30 chances in a row, extending his club record.

Simmons and Freeman each had three hits.

Josh Satin homered for the Mets, and Jonathon Niese struck out a season-high nine for the second consecutive start. Rookie center fielder Juan Lagares turned in his latest defensive gem with an outstanding throw to cut down Simmons trying to stretch a one-out single in the fourth, Atlanta's first hit off Niese.

Heyward was struck by a 90 mph fastball from Niese in the sixth. The impact made a loud noise, and the crowd groaned as Heyward crumpled to the ground.

He stayed down on his back for about three minutes before getting helped to his feet. Heyward walked slowly off the field under his own power, escorted by a trainer, and was replaced by Jordan Schafer.

Visibly concerned, Niese tapped himself with his glove as Heyward walked off, and Heyward appeared to acknowledge him.

Perhaps a bit shaken, Niese then gave up singles to Simmons and Freeman in a three-pitch span as Atlanta tied it at 1.

On a tear at the plate since moving into the leadoff spot last month, Heyward is batting .253 with 13 homers and 37 RBIs. The right fielder won a Gold Glove last season and was an All-Star as a rookie in 2010.

"It was tough. It caught him in a bad spot. We'll just have to wait and hear how he is," Wood said.

Notes: Gonzalez said infielder Elliot Johnson, released Tuesday by Kansas City, will join the Braves in St. Louis. "We're obviously going to be making some roster moves," the manager said. ... Braves OF Justin Upton missed the series with a strain in his upper back. He said he thinks he will be ready for the St. Louis series. ... Upton's brother, B.J., started in CF on his 29th birthday. He went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and is hitless in his last 24 at-bats. ... Johnson batted cleanup for the second time this season. ... Wood went six innings in his seventh major league start -- three against the Mets. ... Satin has reached base safely in all 29 of his starts this season, the fourth-longest streak in the NL.

Ledger-Enquirer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service