A Struggling Heyward Got a Weekend Break

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A struggling Jason Heyward got a weekend break from Cubs manager Joe Maddon. The Cubs were in Colorado to take on the Rockies for a 3-game set and Heyward wasn’t in the lineup for any of the three days. His first season with the Cubs isn’t going well even Jason+Heyward+Seattle+Mariners+v+Chicago+Cubs+QpX7Iu-8w1Glthough the team overall has been fantastic. So far this season, Heyward is hitting .225/.304/.313 (67 OPS+) with only five home runs. In the offseason, the Cubs gave him an eight-year, $184 million contract. Heyward used to bat second in the lineup but lately he has dropped in the order. He told Maddon he would do whatever he had to do to help the team win so he took the drop in the lineup well. Maddon said he didn’t want to use Heyward at all during the weekend unless it was an emergency. “Otherwise, chill out a bit,” Maddon said. We already know Maddon isn’t afraid to make moves like this, remember when he benched Starlin Castro last season? It was a big deal to some. Castro took the benching with a smile and played much better after Maddon benched him. Now Heyward is healthy and Maddon claims the rest was just for him to clear his head. The Cubs were playing at Coors Field and that’s a hitter’s park. Could Maddon have played Heyward and maybe playing there could have given him some confidence? Sure. We could say that but Maddon is around Heyward almost 24/7 and he knows him better than we do. Maddon said his conversation with Heyward was “beautiful.” “We had a great conversation,” Maddon said. “Like with all professional athletes and all professionals in general, if you just sit there and have a straight-up conversation between two people, both sides get it. It sounds like a good idea to him also. It’s very easy to do, easy to get across. He was all for it.” Heyward, a lifetime .268 hitter entering this season, has seen his batting average drop 18 points since the All-Jason+Heyward+Los+Angeles+Dodgers+v+Chicago+Td9XP0dWQcYlStar break. He has only five extra-base hits, including one home run, in the second half. Now you can’t help but look at those stats and say Maddon is doing this because of those numbers. But I truly think Maddon doesn’t see it that way, he sees it as this guy is thinking too much and he needs to clear his head. Give him a little mental break and he’ll get a chance to collect his thoughts. Whether the benching helps Heyward out or not, Maddon sure wouldn’t be afraid to do it again. He has guys like Jorge Soler and Matt Szczur, who are outperforming Jason Heyward at the moment. “I can see right now Jorge is doing well, Matt Szczur is doing well. I’m trying to keep these guys involved, as well as Javy (Baez),” Maddon said. The plan is that Heyward will return to the lineup Monday night in San Diego. We all know what Heyward can do on the defensive side so here’s to hoping that the rest helps out the offense side.

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Gabriella Garcia @gabybabyyy

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