Injured right fielder Jason Heyward returned to Turner Field on Tuesday. Heyward was optimistic about returning from his broken jaw but was obviously in pain when he briefly met with the media.
Heyward’s right jaw was broken in two places on Aug. 21 when he was hit by a pitch from Mets left-hander Jon Niese. He had surgery on Aug. 22 and cannot eat solid food. Heyward said he is drinking a lot of protein shakes, soups and lobster bisque, and he said he has lost 4-5 pounds since the injury.
Heyward was in the middle of a hot streak when injured. He had been moved to the leadoff position and was 30-for-86 (.349) in 22 games there. While not a traditional leadoff hitter, Heyward had thrived in the spot, with five homers, 23 runs scored and 15 runs scored.
Heyward said he hoped his recovery would be fast enough to enable him to play in the postseason games. He will be examined by a doctor on Thursday and will know more about the timetable for his return. He is currently restricted from any physical activity but could begin running on a treadmill soon.
“My mindset is to get back active as soon as possible,” Heyward said. “I don’t know how long it’s going to take to heal. But I know as soon as possible I’d like to be playing baseball again.”
Heyward did not have his mouth wired shut, as is the custom with most broken jaws. He has braces on his teeth that are stabilized by thick rubber bands.
Heyward said he had received an apology from Niese, who was visibly shaken by the accident. Heyward said he harbors no resentment. In fact, he requested a signed ball and glove from Niese.
“Something to remember,” he said. “I know I won’t forget having a broken jaw.”