It's been a somewhat dismal month in Braves Country, but that's all about to change.
The #Braves have activated Jason Heyward. He will lead off and play center today.— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) September 20, 2013
When he first went on the disabled list after suffering a broken jaw from being hit by a Jonathan Niese pitch, the timetable was 4-6 weeks, and the outside edge of that was the beginning of the playoffs. The hope was always that he would be able to play in games before the playoffs in order to get back in the (pun somewhat intended) swing of things. One of the ideas was to let him play in instructs, but I'm not sure that ever made much sense. There's a greater chance of him being re-hit by inferior pitching than major-league pitching, and with the division essentially sewn up, the Braves could deal with the possible rust and lack of production.
Arriving about a week ahead of time, this is just a bonus. It gets Heyward plenty of at-bats, and it gives the team something to get excited about down the stretch. Heyward will wear a jaw flap that connects to the ear flap in order to protect his jaw. There's no indication how long he will or has to wear that, but it shouldn't hinder his hitting.
The other bit of news is that Heyward will be playing center field today. It remains to be seen if that will happen for more than just today, but I imagine that this is what they hope the postseason outfield looks like - Evan Gattis in left, Jason Heyward in center, and Justin Upton in right with B.J. Upton and/or Jordan Schafer to come in as a defensive replacement. Gattis' re-emergence at the plate and B.J. and Schafer's downturn has made this the most logical solution for the moment. Nothing, of course, is guaranteed, but unless something happens, I expect this to be the playoff outfield.
But who cares about that right now? JASON'S BACK!!!!!!!!