ATLANTA -- In the midst of one of the most impressive stretches of his young career, Jason Heyward left Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez no other choice but to move him up in the batting lineup. Heyward batted second in Tuesday night's game against the D-backs, and will remain near the top of the order if he continues to produce like he has over the past three weeks.
"I just wanted to put our best three hitters right now together, guys who are getting on base and swinging the bat," Gonzalez said. "I think we've scored enough runs to win games. That hasn't been an issue. But [Heyward] sure has played well the last seven or eight days."
With the D-backs starting right-hander Daniel Hudson on Tuesday, Gonzalez positioned Heyward in the second spot, directly between leadoff hitter Michael Bourn and Martin Prado. This marked the fourth time this year he had batted in one of the lineup's top three spots.
But unlike the previous occurrences, Heyward might find himself sticking near the top of the lineup. He entered Tuesday having hit .403 with five home runs, a .431 on-base percentage and .806 slugging percentage in his previous 17 games.