DENVER -- He got a weekend off and now Chicago Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward is ready to return to work with one thing in mind: helping his team win to get to October, when the real reset to his season can begin.
"At that point no one looks up at what the regular season looks like," Heyward said Sunday after the Cubs' 11-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies. "Nobody cares. That's the fortunate thing about playing in October."
They have to get there first. And after sitting four consecutive days, Heyward will get another chance at the plate as the team takes on the San Diego Padres beginning Monday.
"Numbers aren't going to mean anything to me as an individual," Heyward said. "Wins and losses and what I can do to help this team win is the bottom line. That's it."
Most of the time, the Cubs have survived without the need for his bat, as evidenced by their record, but come playoff time can they afford to keep a no-hit, all-glove guy in the starting lineup? Heyward is hitting .225 with five home runs.
"I'm going to do what I can do right now," Heyward said. "Go out and help this team. When we get to October, go from there."
Like Heyward, manager Joe Maddon is deflecting any playoff roster talk until there's a reason to address it. We're still in August, so there's time for Heyward to make the decision easy on his manager. But he has to hit, at least a little more than he has this season.
Maddon sat Heyward all weekend to give him the opportunity to clear his head.
"That was the goal, just to come in and relax and watch a baseball game," Heyward said. "And not overthink it. ... My head is fine. Head is good. I had fun watching my guys play.
"I look at it as, let's go win as many games as possible and put myself right in there in the middle of helping this team win."