Jason Heyward: Atlanta Braves' Right Fielder Is Placed on the Disabled List

Will BrownContributor IMay 23, 2011

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 17:  Jason Heyward #22 of the Atlanta Braves walks back to the batter's box after fouling a ball off his leg against the Houston Astros at Turner Field on May 17, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

After battling with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder for a few weeks, Jason Heyward is being placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Atlanta Braves.

The shoulder injury is what many fans—and the Braves organization—are hoping is the reason that Heyward has struggled so mightily this season, as he is currently hitting just .216.

The fact that he took nearly a week off for it only to continue to struggle by going 2-for-16 in the last week showed that he wasn't healthy enough to be a true asset to the team.

This is Heyward's second trip to the disabled list in as many seasons, last year because of a thumb injury. This is making some fans question whether or not Heyward will ever be healthy enough to be the elite player that he has the potential to be.

At the current age of 21, there is still plenty of time for Heyward to progress into the player he should be. I also believe that his two injuries have been more of a bit of bad luck, and are relatively fluky. When healthy, Heyward has shown that he may be the Braves' best player and certainly their best talent.

There isn't a player in the minor league system that brings what Heyward does to the table, and the Braves are desperately hoping that by giving him another two weeks to heal that the shoulder will be good to go when he comes back.

Heyward's ability to get on base even while he struggles average-wise is highly important to the Braves, not to mention that he is also tied for the team lead in home runs with seven. 

As a replacement for Heyward, the Braves are bringing up Wilkin Ramirez. In 11 career at-bats, Ramirez has hit .364 with one homer. He was hitting just .248 in AAA. The Braves may also have to put Nate McLouth on the disabled list, as he strained his left oblique muscle in the first inning of Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Angles.