Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox is pretty much convinced that Jason Heyward will be his starting right fielder when the season starts.
Heyward’s hot progress continues, hitting a 425-foot bomb the other night in the Grapefruit games. He’s batting .417 in these preseason games. Let’s not forget, either, that the Braves had to make special concessions for their training camp field because Heyward was hitting balls so far they were smashing into vehicles.
So, apparently this kid can really hit the ball. But his progress and heavy work load has already hurt his young body.
The AJC reports that Heyward is resting a sore back.
“It’s nothing,” Cox said, “He could play, easily. He wants to play.” But Braves head trainer Jeff Porter told Cox it might be best to rest Heyward. So he’s resting.
“I”m gonna [tick] off 10,000 people by not playing him,” Cox said he told Porter. He was joking. Maybe. (There will be thousands upset not to see the uber prospect today, no doubt.)
Cox and the organization need to be careful with how they introduce Heyward into the big leagues. The Jordan Schafer experiment started pretty with a homerun and ended sadly with a seat on the bench. Now fans are left wondering if Schafer’s good enough to play in the majors. He wasn’t last season. Having a poor beginning to a major league career can all but kill a kid’s confidence–and he already dealt with a drug suspension scandal.