While gaining distance from a severe sophomore slump, an MRI revealed that Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward had no structural damage in his troublesome right shoulder and will not require surgery.
Heyward's shoulder began bothering him in mid-March, and he eventually went on the disabled list in May for three weeks. He underwent several MRI exams throughout the year that only showed inflammation.
The last exam last Thursday focused on his cervical spine area to ensure that there was not a pain-causing issue there. Fortunately for Heyward, his offseason will not be hindered by any kind of surgical procedure.
Heyward's rookie season of 2010 was strong, as he hit for a .277 average with 18 homers and 72 RBIs. The 2011 campaign, however, was less kind to him, as he struggled to a .227 average with 14 home runs and 42 RBIs, even finding himself benched for a spell in favor of minor leaguer lifer Jose Constanza.
General manager Frank Wren has indicated already that Heyward is not guaranteed a starting job for 2012, so the negative MRI provides Heyward one fewer obstacle in what is sure to be a busy offseason for him.
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