Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Will Heyward be back in time for playoffs?
By AJ Mass
After getting hit in the face by a Jonathon Niese fastball and breaking his jaw in the process, odds were long that Jason Heyward would be able to play again this season. However, the Atlanta Braves outfielder has made a ton of progress and is expected to take some batting practice as early as this Friday.
The team still would like to see Heyward go down to the instructional league to get some at-bats before allowing him to rejoin the Braves lineup, but general manager Frank Wren seems very optimistic that Heyward can help the team in the playoffs.
"I think we were cautiously optimistic he would get back to baseball activity sometime in September," Wren said. "It's progressing as we had hoped. I know it is progressing as he had hoped. I think everybody has the goal for him to get back for October. We'll just continue to see how he progresses."
Assuming Heyward is able to make a full recovery, having his bat at the top of the order would go a long way towards helping the Braves make a deep playoff run. As a leadoff hitter, Heyward is hitting .341 this season. All other batters who have filled that role - including Jordan Schafer and B.J. Upton - are batting only a collective .233.