The Atlanta Braves got a massive boost when it was announced that Jason Heyward would be activated from the DL on Friday, and would be starting in center field and leading off for the Braves in the opening game of their weekend series with the Cubs. Heyward is expected to play five innings and/or get three at bats on Friday.
Since a Jonathon Niese pitch broke Heyward's jaw on August 21st, Atlanta has struggled. The team's record is 13-13, but they've scored four or more runs in just nine of those 26 games. Over the last 30 days, which coincidentally lines up perfectly with Heyward's injury, the team is hitting .228/.296/.358. BJ Upton and Jordan Schafer have gotten nearly all of the reps in center field with Heyward out, and the pair (along with two plate appearances from Reed Johnson) has combined to hit .188/.258/.250 since that pitch smashed Heyward in the jaw. Those struggles are exemplified when you consider that those two have hit leadoff in 22 or the 26 games that Heyward has missed in this last recent stint.no comments