By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — With a rehab performance behind him, Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward will come off of the disabled list Saturday after being out since May 5 with a sprained left index finger.
On Thursday, Heyward went 1-of-3 in a quick rehab stint with the Class-A South Bend Cubs.. On Friday, he was back at Wrigley Field with his teammates.
“I am playing tomorrow,” Heyward said. “I needed to swing the bat. I did not need to walk. I needed to swing the bat and feel free. I was just worried about the at-bats and letting my hands go. I was into the timing and not to worry about the hand at all.”
Heyward didn’t need any protective guard on his hand in the rehab game. He’s hitting .253 with three homers and 17 RBIs in 28 games this season.
“The finger is good enough,” he said. “Yesterday was the first time I could go through a pregame routine — do BP, have time in between, get hot again and play the game. It was good. It felt better going through all of that than I thought it would feel.”
Heyward was pleased to see the Cubs earn their first sweep of the season by finishing off the Reds with a 9-5 win on Thursday.
“This is what we are capable of doing,” he said. “We have done that before. Most of this group have done it two years in a row. We just need to keep playing good baseball. The games in the division are huge. We have played good teams outside of the division. That is all a part of the process. You have to grow and take everything in stride. We must make adjustments on a daily basis. I think we do a good job of that.”
With Heyward set to return, the Cubs face a tough roster decision. Rookie infielder/outfielder Ian Happ is lighting it up in his first week in the big leagues, hitting .353 with a .500 on-base percentage, two homers and four RBIs in five games. He was once again hitting cleanup for the Cubs on Friday as they hosted the Brewers, and because manager Joe Maddon has said he wants to keep eight relievers in the bullpen, it’s expected that a position player will have to go to the minor leagues. Reserve infielder Tommy La Stella still has minor league options if the Cubs choose to go in that direction.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.