Jason Heyward will be back soon. That is all that any Atlanta Braves fan wants to hear at this point. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Heyward took a large step in his recovery today by taking batting practice for the first time since breaking his jaw in two places. Heyward was hit by a pitch August 21st against Jonathan Niese of the New York Mets.
Heyward had this to say about his eventful afternoon.
“I wouldn’t have been cleared if everything didn’t feel OK. I’m cleared to go, as long as everything felt fine. So nothing’s holding me back. Got to let time take its course now.”
Manager Fredi Gonzalez was cautiously optimistic about his pending return to the field.
“Maybe he starts seeing some live pitching,” Gonzalez said. “But we’re not there yet. I guess these next two days will tell us where Monday will bring us to.”
I have to figure that the goal for the Braves would be to get Heyward some live major league game action before the playoffs start in a couple of weeks. Ideally you would want him to play in a series or two and let him get his timing down. I would anticipate that he will also be wearing some kind of additional protective devices that he may not have worn before so that will take some getting used to as well.
The bottom line is that the Braves have a good chance in the playoffs this year but are going to be reliant on their lineup to compensate from some of their perceived deficiencies in their starting rotation. For that lineup to be firing on all cylinders then Heyward is going to have to be back and 100%