Braves' Heyward not returning to AFL

Per Mark Bowman's blog, here is the latest on the injury to Atlanta Braves top prospect Jason Heyward:

After meeting with Braves doctors in Atlanta on Tuesday, Jason Heyward learned that he won't be able to resume playing in this year's Arizona Fall League.

Heyward played just four games in the AFL before being shut down on Oct. 17 because of discomfort in the region where his hamstring meets his gluteal muscles.

According to an industry source, the Braves doctors have projected that Heyward should return to health after a few weeks of rest and rehab.  With the AFL's regular season concluding on Nov. 17, there wasn't any reason for the 20-year-old outfielder to rush back to action.

A shame, but I think most of us figured the Braves would err on the side of caution and not let him return to play. Bowman mentions that he could return to a Caribbean winter league club at some point in late November or December to get turned up for a possible run at winning the right field job.

My thoughts are that the Braves will not chance it and instead give Heyward a full winter to recover. They may also look at his spring training the same way that they looked at Hanson's, as more of a taste of what is to come later in the season, and they may plan to start Heyward at triple-A (where's he's only gotten a handful of at-bats), using Matt Diaz in right until Heyward is ready. Really, it's going to be a wait and see approach. If Heyward comes out and hits .350 next spring, then it's hard not to put him on the opening day roster. Of course, if he comes out and hits .150, the decision seems easy enough to send him to triple-A for more time. Ugh, I'm just not patient enough for the wait and see approach.

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