Cubs manager Ross says Heyward impacted winning daily

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Back in 2016, before he was the manager, David Ross is congratulated by teammate Jason Heyward after hitting a 2-run home run in a September game against the Cardinals.

    Back in 2016, before he was the manager, David Ross is congratulated by teammate Jason Heyward after hitting a 2-run home run in a September game against the Cardinals. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 8/9/2022 7:19 PM

There was no shortage of kind words Tuesday regarding Jason Heyward, who has likely played his last game with the Cubs.

The veteran outfielder, who turned 33 Tuesday, is sidelined with a knee injury and Jed Hoyer confirmed the two sides have discussed plans to release him when the season ends, despite a year left on his contract at $22 million.

 

"The thing I know about Jason is he's one of the best human beings I've ever been around," manager David Ross said. "We have a long history together. Lucky for me we're really good friends and we'll be able to stay in touch and he'll be around. I think everybody's in a good place with it."

Ross was a catcher with Atlanta when Heyward debuted in 2010 and made the only all-star appearance of his career.

"How he impacts your team in a winning way is daily," Ross said. "It's not always with the bat. He lifts others up, understands troubles that people maybe going through. He's there for you if you need to talk, he's there for you to lift you up."

Seiya Suzuki essentially replaced Heyward in right field this season, but said he got nothing but help from Heyward.

"He's the guy that came to me on Day 1 and taught me everything about what happens in the clubhouse and what happens on the field," Suzuki said through a translator. "He was a huge figure and just really sad right now I won't be able to be on the field with him or hang out in the clubhouse."

Deep friendship:

Outfielder Nelson Velazquez had the first 3-hit game of his career Monday and hit his first home run at Wrigley Field. He also went deep in the same inning as longtime pal Christopher Morel.

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"We have been playing together for five years," Velazquez. "We're like best friends. It's really fun having him here with me. Last series we were talking about, 'Let's hit a home run in the same game.'"

Velazquez and Morel first met up at the Arizona rookie league in 2017, then were together in Eugene, South Bend and Tennessee. Neither player spent much time in Triple A before getting called up.

"(In Arizona) he says, 'Hey let's go to In n' Out, I only know how to order burgers and coke, let's go there," said Velazquez, a Puerto Rico native. "I didn't know that much English in 2017, so I usually was, 'OK, let's go.'"

More rest for Hendricks:

Manager David Ross said the MRI on Kyle Hendricks injured right shoulder showed improvement, but there's still some inflammation. The plan is another week of rest and then see where he is. ...

Frank Schwindel was sent to Iowa to clear a spot for Franmil Reyes. After suffering a back injury in spring training, this season has been a struggle. "I think he knows he's not where he wants to be," Ross said. "He's been working through a lot of things."

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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