Heyward follows hitless game with grand slam

Heyward follows hitless game with grand slam

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Jason Heyward has said that he will remain patient even as he is starting to feel more comfortable at the plate. The Braves outfielder seemed to prove this again when he followed Thursday's hitless performance by drilling a grand slam on the first pitch he saw during Friday night's 9-5 win over the Astros.

"The guy loads the bases up and he was aggressive," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We like to see that. I think that is something [hitting coach] Greg [Walker] has been preaching."

Walker was thrilled with what he saw as Heyward ended an 0-for-12 skid with a home run off Stephen Strasburg and a double off left-hander Tom Gorzelanny on Wednesday night. At the same time, he said the young outfielder would continue to encounter rough days like Thursday, when he struck out in his first two at-bats.

Heyward hit his first-inning grand slam against Wandy Rodriguez, and nearly went deep off the left-hander again in the third inning with a long fly ball that was caught by Jordan Schafer in center field.

"When he's right, it doesn't matter if it's a righty or a lefty," Gonzalez said.