Alec Mills moved by Jason Heyward’s selfless act
Alec Mills took his first steps into the Cubs’ spring training facility at Sloan Park in Mesa, Ariz. in 2017 as a new member of the club.
As he strolled in, Jason Heyward made it a point to approach him, introduce himself and welcome him to his new team.
That’s the team-first personality that Heyward has.
“Obviously, Jason’s been big,” Mills said. “Comes in everyday, says ‘hey’ to everybody. Goes and singles everybody out, says ‘hey, their name.’”
When Mills had gone through 5 no-hit innings on Sunday, Heyward showed that compassion for his teammate.
David Ross wasn’t prioritizing a no-hitter at that point; he was looking to get some of his regular starters off their feet for the final few innings of a game the Cubs seemingly had in hand. After a 13-day, 14-game stretch, you couldn’t blame Ross for looking to give guys some extra, needed rest.
He brought in Billy Hamilton for Kyle Schwarber to play center and moved Ian Happ to left field. He looked at Heyward and was ready to give his surging right fielder a few innings off.
Except, Heyward didn’t let him.
“I was really checking J-Hey’s pulse about some things and he told me he was riding with Millsy,” Ross said. “Don’t take him out till Millsy comes out.”
As it so happened, Heyward played the rest of the game, riding with Mills until he got the final out of the no-hitter. When hearing about it after the game, Mills was grateful of Heyward’s commitment to him.
“That kinda hit me,” Mills said. “That really means a lot.”
It showed the team-first spirit of the Cubs, too.
“You get that feedback from the players and that just warms your heart and tells you what a professional group we have and how much they care about one another,” Ross said. “That’s what stood out to me.”