DENVER -- Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon is giving struggling Jason Heyward the weekend off, allowing his right fielder to take a break as the team begins a road trip in Colorado.
"Started off by giving him a day," Maddon said of Thursday's game against Milwaukee. "We have a lefty today [facing the Cubs], lefty on Sunday so ... just give him the whole weekend off. Let him chill a little bit for the weekend."
Heyward, who signed an eight-year, $184 million contract with the Cubs last winter, is hitting .225 with a .617 OPS. He has five hits in his past 29 at-bats and just one multihit game since July 9.
"We had a great conversation," Maddon said. "You just sit there and have a straight-up conversation between two people and both sides get it. It sounded like a good idea to him, also. He was all for it."
Heyward is being pushed by hot-hitting outfielders Jorge Soler and Matt Szczur; both are in Friday's starting lineup facing the Rockies. Maddon indicated Heyward would start on Monday against San Diego, but when asked if he might sit more against left-handers, the manager didn't commit to anything longer term.
"We'll make that evaluation as we move it forward," Maddon said. "You can see right now Jorge is doing well, Matt Szczur is doing well."
It was only a day ago that Maddon indicated he liked how the team "looked" with Heyward as a starter.
"If you're standing in the dugout and you don't know anything else and you look at him in right field, I can't be more comfortable with this guy on the field while we're playing baseball," Maddon said Thursday. "He's such a good baseball player."
Heyward's offensive struggles combined with backups hitting well obviously changed Maddon's mind.
"Come back for sure Monday in San Diego," Maddon said. "Play him in an emergency only [this weekend]."