Jason Heyward continues to emerge as leader for Cubs
Photos of Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward.
is a full-time Gold Glove right fielder and part-time between-second-and-third-base coach for the Cubs.
Heyward played the role of the latter while caught in a rundown Sunday during his team’s 7-6 victory that finished a three-game sweep of the Cardinals at Wrigley Field.
He stopped in his tracks long enough to wave Anthony Rizzo to the plate with what turned out to be the winning run before he was tagged out near second base to end the seventh inning.
Heyward, who also earned a tip of the helmet from Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter in the first when his sliding catch robbed Carpenter of extra bases, was trying for third on Jon Jay’s pinch-hit single when he intentionally put himself in the pickle.
“It’s one of the things you gotta think ahead on,” Heyward said. “Knowing the situation, time of the game, who’s running, all that stuff.”
Heyward said first-base coach Brandon Hyde often reminds baserunners of such scenarios, not that Heyward wasn’t already thinking about it.
With one of last year’s leaders, David Ross, in the right-field stands calling Sunday’s game for ESPN, Heyward showed again that he’s worthy of such a label for this year’s team.
“I think he is. I felt that last year, though,” Maddon said. “Watch him on the field. Watch all the little things he does coming off the field, in the dugout, bumping into guys, tapping them on the back. He’s always there to support everybody. Always. Not sometimes. He’s definitely got the qualities and the characteristics, and he played well last year but he’s hitting better right now.”
Ian Happ, the rookie who hit two home runs that accounted for four RBIs Sunday, said playing next to Heyward in the outfield has been a blessing.
“You saw what he did when Rizzo scored and he stopped,” Happ said. “His baseball IQ is unbelievable.”