The Atlanta Braves may be closer to getting one of the key pieces of their lineup back in the next few days. Outfielder Jason Heyward began a minor league rehab assignment today with the triple-A Gwinnett Braves. The All-Star has been on the disabled list since late May with right shoulder soreness.
The injury has been a troubling one for Heyward and for the Braves. The non-specific nature of the injury has caused Chipper Jones to come out in the press and encourage Heyward to return to the lineup. Injury expert Will Carroll had this to say about the injury: "The question now is how to maintain the pain-free condition, but sources tell me the Braves aren't sure what started all this."
When Martin Prado joined Nate McLouth and Heyward on the disabled list last week, it meant that the entire starting outfield for the Braves was on the DL at the same time, and it underscored just how important it was for Heyward to return to the lineup as soon as possible. In Heyward's place the Braves have been using a string of four-A players in right field. The current outfield combo of Mather, Schafer, and Young sounds more like a Law Firm than a reliable long term starting outfield for Atlanta.
There is no timetable for Heyward's return, or a length of time he will stay on his rehab assignment with Gwinnett. This fan's hope is that Heyward can find his swing in the next two games with the G-Braves, and return to Atlanta on Wednesday, when it will be Jason Heyward bobble head night at Turner Field.