ATLANTA -- With Braves manager Bobby Cox deciding to jumble his lineup for Monday's Game 4 of the National League Division Series, it wasn't surprising that he opted to drop Jason Heyward to the sixth spot.
Heyward, who struck out seven times while going hitless in the first three games of this NLDS, was replaced in the second spot of the lineup by Matt Diaz. With the Giants sending rookie southpaw Madison Bumgarner to the mound, Cox was hoping that Diaz would rekindle the success he's had most of his career against left-handers.
"Maybe Jason can drive somebody in from down there as well," Cox said.
It marked the first time Heyward didn't bat in one of the first four spots of the lineup since June 26, which was the last day he played before a left thumb injury sidelined him during the two weeks leading up to the All-Star Game.
Heyward entered Monday with just seven hits and 18 strikeouts in 54 at-bats since Sept. 21. The 21-year-old rookie outfielder flirted with a .400 on-base percentage before it dropped from .404 to .393 during the final 16 games of the regular season.
Members of the Braves' coaching staff have said they have been given no reason to believe Heyward is bothered by the thumb again or any other physical ailment. In the 29 games leading up to his slump, he hit .398 with six homers and a 1.157 OPS.