VIERA, Fla. -- A new day brought a few more reasons for the Braves to be optimistic about what Jason Heyward can do this year. One day after robbing a home run and hitting a game-tying one in the ninth inning, Jason Heyward hit one of the most impressive home runs in the history of Space Coast Stadium.
Heyward caused a number of jaws to drop when he drilled a solo home run off Edwin Jackson in the fifth inning of Thursday's 6-3 loss to the Nationals. With no apparent help from the wind, Heyward powered a 2-2 fastball over the 30-foot batter's eye that stands in dead center field.
"That felt great off the bat," Heyward said. "It was loud. That's how you want them to feel."
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez spent many years at this location while serving as a Marlins coach more than 10 years ago. He believes Cliff Floyd might be the only other player he has seen hit the ball over the batter's eye.
"I've been here 10 years and I have not seen too many guys over the black hole there," Gonzalez said.
Heyward started in center field and gave the Braves further confidence in his ability to play the position whenever Michael Bourn needs to rest. He ranged to right-center and dove to rob Wilson Ramos of a base hit in the fourth inning.
"He's getting good at-bats," Gonzalez said. "He made a nice play on that sinking line drive in center field that was going away from him. There are a lot of positives coming out of his camp right now."