Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers selected the contract of Jason Heyward to include him on their 2023 Opening Day roster. Gavin Lux was placed on the 60-day injured list as the corresponding move to make room for Heyward on the 40-man roster.
Heyward was only Spring Training non-roster invitee to make the team. That may not have been the expectation when the veteran outfielder signed a Minor League contract with the Dodgers as he was coming off a disappointing showing with the Chicago Cubs.
But Heyward overhauled his swing during the offseason, drawing rave reviews from Dodgers coaches and Freddie Freeman.
The two grew close during their time playing together on the Atlanta Braves, and Freeman was instrumental in the Dodgers signing Heyward.
“When I talked to Jason in the last couple months of the season, I went straight to Andrew Friedman and Brandon Gomes, and was like, ‘Hey guys, it’s a perfect fit. He’s a wonderful human, there’s a lot left in there,’” Freeman recalled during the offseason.
“I stayed on them for a little bit. As the offseason went on, I talked to Jason pretty much every day, and things just kind of fell into place. I got my friend back and I’ve just been telling him how wonderful the Dodgers have been for me.”
Heyward got off to a hot start with the Dodgers in Spring Training but cooled a bit and finished batting .200/.273/.360 with two doubles, two home runs and four RBI.
After five seasons with the Braves and one with the St. Louis Cardinals, Heyward signed an eight-year, $184 million contract with the Chicago Cubs in December 2015.
Though it was a marquee signing at the time, Heyward’s career with the Cubs was marred by inconsistency at the plate. After a successful 2020 season, the 33-year-old hit a combined .211/.280/.326 with 20 doubles, three triples, nine home runs and 40 RBI in 152 games over the past two years.
What role will Jason Heyward have with Dodgers?
The 33-year-old is expected to be utilized by the Dodgers off the bench. He’s capable of playing all three outfield positions but may primarily see time at the corner spots.
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