DENVER — Following a successful appendectomy on Monday, a biopsy confirmed the contents of outfielder Jason Heyward’s appendix, leaving Braves fans with renewed enthusiasm over the budding superstar’s future.
“Tell you what, I knew he hadn’t been himself this year,” said Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez on Tuesday. “I’ll be darned if all the stuff that was holding him back wasn’t stuck in that one little organ. Organ? It’s an organ, right? Hey, I’m no doctor. Anyway, now that we’ve got that taken care of, hopefully he can get back here quick and help us win some baseball games.”
Prior to the procedure, Heyward had been batting a measly .121 with a pair of home runs, underperforming what had been high expectations entering the season. After suffering from abdominal pain for several days, he notified trainers on Monday morning that it had become localized and intensified on his right side, developing into what he called an “existential crisis.”
“We’ve all seen the guy’s potential, and we’ve all been a little impatient with the progress,” said Braves GM Frank Wren, echoing concerns throughout the organization that Heyward’s practically limitless talent might be forever hampered by the lack of a certain something. “Call it lack of consistency, call it lack of drive, call it lack of a killer instinct, whatever,” Wren went on. “Doesn’t matter. They found all of it wadded up at the end of his colon, and they’re confident they got it all. Mark my words, you’ll be seeing a new and improved Jason once he’s back from the DL.”
Upon waking up from the procedure, Heyward reportedly ripped out an IV, snarled at nurses, and “graphically defaced” a magazine in the waiting room featuring Bryce Harper. Atlanta officials took encouragement from the incidents, noting that the team was “back online” with its project of developing the unpolished slugger into a franchise centerpiece.
“The dude can mash,” said Heyward’s friend and former roommate Freddie Freeman. “It’s no secret. I’ve seen it, you’ve seen it. But listen, this stuff builds up after a while. You start to get a conscience, you start to doubt yourself, and next thing you know the ball starts missing your bat. We all want J-Hey to be a stone cold killer, and believe me, he can be and he will be. He just needed to get cleaned out.” Freeman, who’s batting a healthy .348 but has only one home run to his credit this year, added that he was “considering the procedure myself. But I don’t know. These guys really count on my hugs around here.”
At last report Heyward was driving a stolen cement mixer “at unsafe speeds” towards Turner Field while listening to Slayer’s Reign in Blood. The Braves have placed him on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 21, although his manager, Gonzalez, noted that it was “unclear” whether he could be kept off the field for that long.
Doctors reported that the 28-centimeter length of Heyward’s appendix may represent a new record, although this has not been verified.