With Jason Heyward's struggles against left-handed pitching this season, it was no surprise to see him out of the lineup with a lefty on the mound for Tuesday night's game against the Washington Nationals. However, Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez chose to sit Heyward for the second straight game for Wednesday afternoon's series finale against the Nationals. Gonzalez instead started Eric Hinske and newcomer Jose Constanza against right-hander Chien-Ming Wang.
“Just because he hasn’t been in the lineup two days in a row has got nothing to do with giving up on him or anything like that, absolutely not,” Gonzalez said. “It was just a matter of Constanza swinging it, and Hinske having decent numbers against Wang.”
Constanza has certainly impressed and provided a bit of a spark in his short time with the big-league club. He has hit .400 (8-for-20) with a double and two RBIs. Hinske, having played against Wang often in the American League, has posted great numbers against Wang, going 13-for-30 with five doubles, two homers, and four RBIs.
Gonzalez told Heyward before the trade deadline that he will likely play the hot hand more often in an effort to give the team the best chance to win in the coming months.
“I want to play every day that I can,” Heyward said. “But I know that he’s going to put the lineup up and whatever he feels is best for us individually and as a team.”
To be fair, Heyward has hit better as of late, going 3-for-9 with a double and two walks in his last three starts.
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