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GDT: Braves vv Cubs (9/20) Heyward activated and will lead off

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Posted: 9/20/2013 12:51 PM

GDT: Braves vv Cubs (9/20) Heyward activated and will lead off 




Mark Bowman

lineup:
Heyward 8
J. Upton 9
Freeman 3
Gattis 7
McCann 2
C. Johnson 5
Uggla 4
Simmons 6
Maholm 1




GO BRAVES, ROLL TIDE & GEORGIA TECH 
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Posted: 9/20/2013 12:55 PM

RE: GDT: Braves vv Cubs (9/20) Heyward activated and will lead 


Mark Bowman ‏@mlbbowman

The #Braves were thinking about waiting a couple extra days, but Heyward arrived at the park today and said he was ready to play

Matt Chernoff ‏@RealMattlanta

Heyward will have 10 games to get tuned up for postseason. If he goes 0 for 4 with 3 K's today so what. His presence is huge. He needs AB's

Mark Bowman ‏@mlbbowman 41m

Heyward will play five innings or get three at-bats today. He will rest tomorrow. Similar to early days of Spring Training

Kevin McAlpin @ KevinMcAlpin

Heyward: "I just felt like the only thing left to do is actually get in games" 





GO BRAVES, ROLL TIDE & GEORGIA TECH 

Last edited 9/20/2013 12:57 PM by david55

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Posted: 9/20/2013 1:59 PM

RE: GDT: Braves vv Cubs (9/20) Heyward activated and will lead 


From AJC

CHICAGO – Jason Heyward is back.

Thirty days after having his jaw broken by a fastball, the Braves activated Heyward and inserted him in the lineup in center field and the leadoff spot for Friday afternoon’s series opener against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

“I’m just really excited and happy to back on the field again,” he said Friday morning. “I know I’ll be better than I will be today in five days, but you have to start the process somewhere, and I’m happy to start it this soon.”

He was a galvanizing force in the leadoff spot before getting hit in the face by a 90-mph fastball from Mets left-hander Jonathon Niese, sustaining two fractures that required surgery and two metal plates inserted to aid the healing.

The Braves’ offense has struggled since he went on the disabled list, and backup catcher Gerald Laird said it looked like a real lineup again with Heyward’s name atop it Friday.

Heyward only began taking batting practice a week ago against coaches, and hit for the first time against a pitcher Wednesday at Washington when the Braves flew in minor leaguer Mark Lamm to throw batting practice to him.

The Braves were going to have him face pitcher David Hale in batting practice Thursday on the team’s off day in Chicago, but the Cubs said the field was too wet after morning rain. So it was one live-BP session and into the lineup for Heyward, who told manager Fredi Gonzalez on Friday morning that he was ready to play.

“I just felt that the only thing left to do was get in the games,” said Heyward, who will wear a customized batting helmet with a protective guard attached to the right ear flap, extending across his face where it was fractured.

“Due to the circumstances of our season, that we have some wiggle room, and the fact that we also have something to play for after this, I (wanted to) begin that process today,” he said.

Heyward hit .357 with six doubles, five homers, 15 RBIs and a .426 OBP and .607 slugging percentage in his last 22 games before Niese broke his jaw in two places. That 22-game stretch began the day after he moved to the leadoff spot.

The Braves went 18-4 in those 22 games, batting .267 with 25 homers and 114 runs, an average of 5.2 runs per game.

They were 13-13 since then, batting .228 as a team and averaging 3.2 runs per game in those 26 games without him.

The Braves were considering activating Heyward later this weekend, but when he got to the ballpark he said he was ready. Gonzalez said he could pinch-hit if he wanted to, and Heyward said no, if he played he wanted to get more than one at-bat.

They reached a compromise: Five innings or three at-bats, whichever came first. The plan is to ease him back in the lineup by having him rest of pinch-hit Saturday, then play less than nine innings Sunday, then be ready for the season-ending seven-game homestand that starts Monday.

Heyward has thrived in his previous visits to Wrigley Field, going 11-for-33 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 10 games, with a .425 OBP and .758 slugging percentage.

“I didn’t think about that at all,” Heyward said of his desire to play Friday. “That’s just kind of an added bonus.”




GO BRAVES, ROLL TIDE & GEORGIA TECH 
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Posted: 9/20/2013 2:31 PM

Re: GDT: Braves vv Cubs (9/20) Heyward activated and will lead 


He could be a huge help, and he needs to get his feet wet. The first time someone throws a high inside fastball how is he going to respond?

Hopefully he hits the ground running.

rtr
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Posted: 9/20/2013 3:19 PM

RE: GDT: Braves vv Cubs (9/20) Heyward activated and will lead 


This is awesome.
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Posted: 9/20/2013 3:23 PM

RE: GDT: Braves vv Cubs (9/20) Heyward activated and will lead 


Yes, it is! Really didn't realize how much Jason's presence meant to lineup as well as defense!




GO BRAVES, ROLL TIDE & GEORGIA TECH 
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Posted: 9/21/2013 12:07 PM

Re: GDT: Braves vv Cubs (9/20) Heyward activated and will lead 


1 win left to clinch the division.
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