Stephen Strasburg's next start comes on Monday night in Atlanta, and the centerpiece of the matchup with the first-place Braves was supposed to be the right-hander's encounter with Braves outfielder Jason Heyward, the 6-foot-7 rookie who might be the only prospect in baseball that's created the kind of buzz the Nationals pitcher has this year.
Baseball America ranked Heyward the best prospect in baseball this spring, with Strasburg No. 2, and their first matchup was projected to be a collision of raw skills, power against power in a duel that will likely play out many times in the National League East over the next several years.
It's just that the first installment might have to wait.
Heyward, who's hit 11 homers but has watched his average dip to .251 while he plays through a jammed left thumb, will miss Sunday's game against the Tigers, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He's well aware of the matchup with Strasburg, and is hoping to get back to face the Nationals rookie on Monday night, but with the Braves in first place, Heyward's long-term health is more of a focus than facing Strasburg.
"(Facing him) would be fun, and it would be awesome," Heyward told MLB.com. "But that would be something to go out there and play and then not be ready to go back out there and play again. I don't see this like I'm sitting out because of an injury. I look at it like I'm sitting out to take care of it now, so that I don't have to worry about it later."