Jason Heyward received a bit of a rough welcome back to St. Louis today, as he appeared there for the first time since leaving the Cardinals for the rival Cubs. But that didn’t seem to bother him; as he told reporters, including MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat (Twitter link): “If somebody boos me here, that means they weren’t happy to see me leave. I’m glad people weren’t happy to see me leave.” He’s already covered his decision to move on to Chicago in some detail, of course, but the occasion offered a chance to revisit the winter market once again. As Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, Heyward ultimately spurned the Cards not out of any failure to see eye-to-eye on a contract, but because he had found another spot he preferred. “It came down to Chicago was really where I would like to be at the time,” Heyward said. “… I feel like [the Cardinals] had every intention of keeping me here. They said that. And they followed that through with their actions. It didn’t come down to contract. Whether it was the opt-out, whether it was the full no-trade (clause), or what have you — it came down to taking the opportunity to be where I wanted to be and for the first time in my life having the choice.”
Here are a few more notes from the National League:
- Cubs catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber is set for surgery this week on his injured left knee, Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com was among those to tweet. It’s already clear that he’ll miss the entire season with ACL and LCL tears, but a broader recovery timeline remains unknown and will presumably depend in part upon how the procedure goes.
- Young Braves lefty Max Fried is showing promise in his return from Tommy John surgery, Carroll Rogers Walton of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The 22-year-old was a highly-regarded prospect before running into elbow troubles, and remains a high-upside arm for an Atlanta organization that is full of them. He came over in the Justin Upton trade, but has only just returned to action. Fried was not only the high school teammate of Lucas Giolito — who is now the top-rated pitching prospect in baseball — but ended up being taken higher in the 2012 draft when the Nationals’ right-hander fell due to his own elbow troubles.