Heyward (concussion) out for rest of '21

September 28th, 2021

PITTSBURGH -- Cubs outfielder emerged from the visitors' dugout at PNC Park on Tuesday, making his way out to right field to join a group of his teammates pregame.

It was a small glimpse into some progress Heyward has made in recent days, though he will no longer play in games for the Cubs this season. Prior to Tuesday's game, manager David Ross made it clear that Heyward -- who is still dealing with concussion symptoms -- is done for the year.

"Every day he's been better," Ross said. "[His symptoms have] gotten better every single day. He's sleeping better. The headaches and the dizziness and the fatigue is all kind of waning towards being nonexistent."

Heyward traveled with the team to Pittsburgh in order to meet with Dr. Michael "Micky" Collins, who is the director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Sports Medicine Concussion Program. That consultation involved helping Heyward develop a rehab program for the coming days and weeks.

Ross noted that he had his own experience working with Collins, who helped during his concussion recovery when Ross was a player.

"He's got a plan moving forward," Ross said. "I think he got a good rehab setup for today from Mickey, and I think that'll be really good for him. He should bounce back pretty fast.

"I've got a lot of questions, just because I know what that routine he had to go through [Tuesday] is like. I wanted to see what were some of his thoughts and feelings after going through that."

Heyward (on the 10-day injured list now, following a stint on MLB's seven-day concussion list) suffered the concussion after he was inadvertently kneed in the head by Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford in a collision at third base on Sept. 11.

In 104 games this season, Heyward hit .214 with eight homers, 30 RBIs, a .627 OPS and a 69 OPS+ for the Cubs. It was a drastic decline from the abbreviated 2020 season, when the outfielder hit .265 (.848 OPS) with a 129 OPS+ in 50 games.

Even through Heyward's struggles this season, Ross said the outfielder has continued to make an impact behind the scenes.

"Even his attitude when he's not performing offensively like he wants," Ross said. "He's always engaged in the outfield. He's always engaged in the dugout. He's always leading by example.

"His attitude is the same every single day, which is really hard to do in this game. Even the manager could learn some things from him about that."

Thompson done for season
Rookie right-hander Keegan Thompson enjoyed his best start of the season on Sunday, finishing with seven strikeouts and one run allowed in three innings against a hot Cardinals club. Unfortunately, right shoulder soreness lingered after that outing for Thompson.

"We'll probably err on the side of caution and shut him down," Ross said.

Proceeding with caution, the Cubs in fact placed Thompson on the 10-day IL prior to Tuesday's game, ending his season. In 32 games (six starts) this season, the 2022 rotation candidate had a 3.38 ERA with 55 strikeouts in 53 1/3 innings.

"It was real good stuff he showed his last start," Ross said. "To get him back to throwing the baseball the way we believe he can and going into the offseason with that confidence, I think is huge for us and him."

Worth noting
• Shortstop Nico Hoerner remained out of the lineup on Tuesday due to "general soreness," which Ross said was related to previous injury issues this season. With only a handful of games left, the Cubs are weighing whether to shut Hoerner down for the season.

• Third baseman Patrick Wisdom is still dealing with right wrist soreness and was out of the starting lineup on Tuesday. Ross said Wisdom was day to day with the ailment.

• Ross said catcher Willson Contreras was out of the lineup Tuesday to rest a sore wrist. The catcher is expected to be back behind the plate on Wednesday.

"I've been empowering myself to be able to put more of a stamp on things with new players. That's been great -- I love that. There's been a lot of growth from that, from them and me." -- Ross