Braves' Heyward playing through injury

Jason Heyward's been slumping badly, and Dave O'Brien reports that Heyward's got a thumb injury that's not bad enough for surgery but might not really heal without plenty of rest ...

In the meantime, it will likely be up to the 20-year-old right fielder to play when he feels comfortable enough to do so. He’s out of the lineup for Monday night’s game, the third consecutive start he’s missed since the soreness.

Heyward initially injured the thumb when he jammed it into third base sliding head-first on May 14.

In the past 24 games in which he batted, Heyward hit .172 (17-for-99) with one homer, seven RBIs, 33 strikeouts, a .274 on-base percentage and a .232 slugging percentage (.506 OPS).

In his first 46 games, he hit .301 (47-for-156) with 10 doubles, three triples, 10 homers, 38 RBIs, 29 walks, 35 strikeouts, and a .421 OBP and .596 slugging percentage (1.017 OPS).

“It’s nothing major because I’ve been on the field for the last two months with it,” he said Sunday. “But it’s something that’s creating a problem as far as being consistent.

I suppose only Heyward and his doctors know how "major" it actually is, but a .172/.274/.232 line over 24 games seems at least moderately major to me.

Craig thinks if Heyward doesn't get his power back, the Braves need to get a bat, but I'll take it one step further: If Heyward can't get his OPS past 750, the Braves need to put him on the DL for as long as it takes his thumb to heal.

Because if he keeps hitting like he's been hitting, this erstwhile lock for Rookie of the Year is little more than the waste of a valuable roster spot.