Jason Heyward, a key part of the Atlanta Braves’ resurgence, suffered a broken jaw Wednesday when he was hit in the face with a pitch by the New York Mets’ Jonathon Niese.
The team said Heyward will have surgery to repair two jaw fractures sustained during the Braves’ 4-1 win in New York.
Heyward could miss up to six weeks.
He was beaned by a 90 mph fastball from Niese in the sixth inning. The crowd moaned in horror when Heyward went down to the ground in agony.
Heyward’s grandparents were at Citi Field and accompanied him to the hospital, along with trainer Jeff Porter. Heyward and Porter stayed behind in New York as the Braves traveled to St. Louis for a four-game series that begins Thursday night.
“He never lost consciousness,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Right before he went to the hospital he popped his head into the clubhouse to say goodbye to some of the guys. It’s not the ballpark, it’s just a matter of freak stuff happening. It can happen anywhere.”
Visibly concerned, Niese tapped himself with his glove as Heyward walked off, and Heyward appeared to acknowledge him.
“I felt horrible,” Niese said. “Sometimes this game can be pretty dangerous. One minute you’re playing, the next you’re down. I felt terrible.”
“Scary, to be honest,” Mets catcher John Buck said. “You don’t ever want to hit anyone in the head. Saw him spitting up blood; that was even scarier.”