WASHINGTON -- Jason Heyward has learned it is hazardous to his health to foul off a pitch during the first inning of a game at Nationals Park.
Heyward was bothered by neck spasms that led to the splitting headache he felt after fouling a pitch during the first inning of Saturday night's game against the Nationals. Coincidentally, he dealt with the same discomfort after he fouled a pitch during the first inning of a game played at Nationals Park on Aug. 6.
While Heyward exited during the first inning of that game last year, he played through the discomfort for the remainder of Saturday's game. The Braves did not place him in the lineup for Sunday's series finale until he arrived at the stadium to receive treatment and take some swings in the indoor batting cage.
"It feels a little better after getting loosened up, but I've still got a headache," Heyward said as he prepared for his duties to serve as Atlanta's leadoff hitter and right fielder on Sunday.
Heyward returned to the lineup the day after he experienced the neck discomfort last year and then proceeded to hit .367 with a 1.057 OPS in the 12 games he played before his jaw was fractured by Mets left-hander Jon Niese's fastball on Aug. 21.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.