PITTSBURGH — Right fielder Jason Heyward, who has been battling a concussion the last two weeks, is finished for the season, Cubs manager David Ross announced before Tuesday’s game against the Pirates.
Heyward has been out since Sept. 11 after taking an inadvertent knee to the side of the head from Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford while sliding into third base.
Heyward traveled with the Cubs to Pittsburgh and met with a local concussion specialist who also helped Ross with concussions during his playing career.
“There’s a specialist here that I’ve seen, [Michael] ‘Mickey’ Collins, who does phenomenal work,” Ross said. “[Heyward] saw him [Tuesday]. Really good feedback. He’s got a plan moving forward. I think he got a lot of information, and I think every day has been better. He got a good rehab setup from Mickey, and that’ll be really good for him to bounce back pretty fast.”
Heyward’s symptoms initially included nausea and dizziness, which have since subsided, but there also have been some lingering “small symptoms,” Ross said.
“That’s part of the process to get back,” Ross said. “It’s gotten better every single day. Sleeping better. Headaches, dizziness and fatigue is all kind of waning towards being nonexistent.
“I talked with the trainers about how [Tuesday] went, but I haven’t talked to [Heyward] specifically. I’ve got a lot of questions, just because I know what that routine he had to go through is like. I want to see what some of his thoughts and feelings [were] after going through that.”
Heyward finishes the season having slashed .214/.280/.347 with eight homers and 30 RBI in 104 games.
He wasn’t the only player whose season ended Tuesday. The Cubs also decided to shut down right-hander Keegan Thompson (inflammation, right shoulder), placing him on the 10-day injured list. Thompson went on the IL for the same problem earlier this month before returning Sept. 19 against the Brewers. But after his most recent start Sunday, his shoulder didn’t respond like the team had hoped.
It wasn’t a smooth transition for Thompson after he pitched successfully in the bullpen during the first half. He had a 7.11 ERA in five starts in the second half and struggled with his command.
But he closed his season on a high, striking out a career-high seven batters Sunday and giving him something positive to take into the offseason.
“I thought there was a lot of power in there,” Ross said. “For him to go out and prove himself, knowing where he was, listen to some of the things he was going through mentally, was very eye-opening. And proving to himself that ‘I can have success as a reliever and I can have success as a starter.’ I thought it was really good stuff he showed his last start, and to get him back to throwing the baseball the way we believe he can and going into the offseason with that confidence is huge for us.”