Published On: Mon, Aug 22nd, 2016

Heyward: 'My head is fine' after sitting out weekend

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Christian Petersen / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Jason Heyward‘s season has been defined by numbers. There’s his $184-million contract, the career-low five homers, and a major-league worst .617 OPS among outfielders. But after sitting the last four games, amid a .188 batting average in August, the puzzling Chicago Cubs right fielder insists he’s only focused on one thing.

“Numbers aren’t going to mean anything to me as an individual,” Heyward said after manager Joe Maddon gave him the weekend off, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers. “Wins and losses and what I can do to help this team win is the bottom line. That’s it.”

As it were, Heyward hasn’t played since Maddon told reporters he had no intention of benching his talented, yet struggling, high-priced outfielder. The 27-year-old sat for Thursday’s series finale against Milwaukee and remained on the bench for the Cubs’ three-game set in Colorado. In explaining the weekend off, Maddon said he wanted to give Heyward a chance to clear his head.

“That was the goal, just to come in and relax and watch a baseball game,” Heyward said Sunday. “And not overthink it. … My head is fine. Head is good. I had fun watching my guys play. I look at it as, let’s go win as many games as possible and put myself right in there in the middle of helping this team win.”

Fortunately for Heyward, his team is doing just fine despite his season-long slump. Entering Monday, the Cubs maintain the majors’ best record at 78-45 with a league-high plus-208 run differential and 12-game lead over Heyward’s former team, the St. Louis Cardinals, in the NL Central. In his mind, there’s still plenty of time to rewrite his first season at Wrigley.

“I’m going to do what I can do right now,” said the three-time Gold Glove defender. “Go out and help this team. When we get to October, go from there.”

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