Jason Heyward returns to Dodgers with HR; Max Muncy hits IL

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers shuffled their roster Friday, activating right fielder Jason Heyward, placing third baseman Max Muncy on the injured list with what was described as a mild oblique strain, and sending struggling center fielder James Outman down to Triple-A.

Muncy, 1-for-25 in his past seven games, tweaked an oblique during batting practice before Thursday's game. A follow-up MRI showed a Grade 1 strain.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he hopes Muncy will miss only the minimum of 10 days.

Heyward, returning from the back injury that had kept him out since the end of March, showed no signs of rust, hitting a two-run homer in the eighth inning of the Dodgers' 7-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday.

"Awesome to be back out there. I'll never take it for granted," Heyward said. "I hate missing games."

Heyward's return had triggered speculation as to which struggling hitter would be moved off the roster to create room for him.

Rather than take the drastic step of releasing Chris Taylor, who has five hits in 60 at-bats this season but began the year with $30 million remaining on his contract, the Dodgers optioned Outman, the second-year outfielder who was slashing .147/.250/.266.

Outman's struggles have come one year after he finished third in National League Rookie of the Year voting.

"I don't think any of us expected to be in this position given last year and then our expectations for him this season," Roberts said. "But with the inconsistencies, the struggles, Jason coming back, [Andy Pages'] play the last six weeks, we just felt that James needed an opportunity to go down and play every day. There's something to getting out of this environment, performance-based, and just going out there and playing baseball. Once we can get him back on track, we'll get him back here."

Pages, the Cuban rookie who has posted a .742 OPS through his first 28 games, is expected to play center field on a regular basis and will be flanked in the corners by Heyward and Teoscar Hernandez when the Dodgers face right-handed pitchers. Against lefties, Hernandez would move from left to right field and Taylor or Miguel Vargas, who was also called up Friday, will start in left.

Enrique Hernandez and Miguel Rojas will both be options to play third base in Muncy's absence, with Hernandez getting the nod Friday.

All four of the aforementioned players are right-handed hitters, creating some redundancies at both positions. Asked what will determine who gets starts on a given day in left field and third base, Roberts said: "Performance is one. I think the defense, across the board, is pretty good with all those guys. But to me, I don't think that any of those four guys has earned the opportunity to play every single day. Now, it's about when you get opportunities, go out there and play good to create more opportunity for yourself."