April 21, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Atlanta Braves right fielderJason Heyward
(22) looks on from the dugout against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fifth inning at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
You will recall that Jason Heyward suffered some lower flank pain while the Braves were out on a series in Colorado, and had to have an emergency appendectomy. He was placed on the DL where he’s been now for almost three weeks, but began his minor league rehab assignment yesterday. Jason is expected to be back with Atlanta sometime next week, and possibly as early as Monday when the Braves begin their series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. When asked whether or not Heyward would be in the lineup in game one versus Arizona, Fredi Gonzalez said…
"We’ll leave it up to him. Today he calls Walk (hitting coach Greg Walker) and says, guess who I faced first time back? A knuckleballer."
Braves fans hope that Jason Heyward, who had been struggling all season prior to his stint on the DL, will come back and be in the form fans have come to expect, but his first outing in class AAA Gwinnett was anything but top form. I don’t personally think anyone has much to worry about. It’s somewhat normal to be a touch rusty when coming off the DL, and facing a knuckleballer is never an easy task. That said, Jason struggled, going 0-5 with three strikeouts and a walk in a 14-9 loss to Pawtucket. Hopefully as his rehab games continue, the rust will fall off and Jason will get back to being Jason Heyward. With the Braves bats coming to life lately, it would be nice to add another huge weapon to the offensive arsenal.