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Jason Heyward says leaving Cubs and playing somewhere else will be tough

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CHICAGO (CBS/AP) -- Jason Heyward hasn't played since June because of a knee issue, and now, the Cubs recently announced they will be releasing him.

Heyward will be released after this season, before the final year of his eight-year contract.

Heyward is one of just three players left from the 2016 World Series team. He is hoping to play somewhere next year, but he has made his home in Chicago. And that makes it hard to say goodbye to his fans.

"It's going to be heavy. It's going to be emotional. I think in twofold, I'm looking forward to being able to do that, to acknowledge them from the heart, to be here for timing to work out, from where I was here on a run and we made some history – it's tough to move on," Heyward said. "It's tough to go on and play somewhere else, or start a new life away from here."

Cubs President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer said last month that Heyward won't be with Chicago next year.

The 33-year-old outfielder hit .204 with one home run and 10 RBIs in 137 at-bats, and he has one season left in a $184 million, eight-year contract, a deal with a $22 million salary next season.

A two-time Gold Glove winner, Heyward has a .257 average, 159 homers and 641 RBIs in 13 seasons with Atlanta, St. Louis and Chicago. In 2016 he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. But he has hit .245 with 62 home runs in seven seasons with Chicago.

He is remembered for his pep talk during a rain delay late in Game 7, won by the Cubs 8-7 in 10 innings.

"Well, I know I had an effect on it," Heyward said. "The group was together and the right people were in the room."

He plans to keep a home in Chicago, his wife's hometown, no matter where he plays.

"Have to be realistic about their roles that they think I should be in," Heyward said. "Is that a minor league invite? Or is that a possibility of saying, 'Oh, like we want you on this team and we're here to win and compete. We understand what you bring in a winning environment.'"

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