ATLANTA -- Braves right-hander Peter Moylan will have surgery to repair a bulging disc in his lower back, leaving the team without a key reliever as it awaits an update on the status of right fielder Jason Heyward.
Moylan said Wednesday the operation won't end his season. He said he has been told the recovery could take eight to 12 weeks. The operation is tentatively planned for Tuesday in Los Angeles, to be performed by spine surgeon Dr. Robert Watkins.
Heyward did not start against the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night after he left Tuesday's game with discomfort in his right shoulder and numbness in his hand.
He is scheduled to have an MRI on the shoulder Thursday.
Heyward said he has been having lingering discomfort in the shoulder since spring training. He said the situation became more of a problem on Tuesday when his right hand went numb and he couldn't shake it off.
The right fielder has slumped this month, going 2 for 28, and is hitting .220 overall with a team-leading seven homers and 14 RBIs.
"I actually did contribute some and once you do that you feel like, OK, we can make this work," Heyward said Wednesday of his attempts to play through the nagging discomfort. "Obviously, as of late, that's not something you want to keep on with. Especially after last night."
Heyward compared his injury to his 2010 rookie season, when he tried to play through a left thumb injury before finally spending about two weeks on the disabled list.
"For me, any time you can get it fixed, especially learning from last year, it's good," Heyward said.
"A couple days of rest is probably not going to be it. Something may need to be done," he said.
Heyward hit .277 with 18 homers and 72 RBIs as a rookie. He was voted an NL All-Star starter, but the thumb injury prevented him from playing.
Eric Hinske, who took over for Heyward on Tuesday night, is starting against the Nationals.
Moylan met with Watkins this week.
"I wish he'd said, 'You don't need surgery. I've got this miracle cure: You just take this pill and you'll be back in a week," Moylan said.
Moylan was placed on the 15-day disabled list on April 16 with a lower back sprain.
The right-hander from Australia began the season as the Braves' top setup reliever. He was 6-2 with a 2.97 ERA in 2010.
He has had previous back operations in 2001 and 2003. He made his debut with Atlanta in 2006.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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