SAN FRANCISCO -- Selfishly, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez would like to put Jason Heyward in his lineup on a daily basis. But more importantly, he wants his talented young outfielder to remain fresh as the season's stretch run nears.
The Braves are 14 games into a stretch of playing on 20 consecutive days. Center fielder Michael Bourn had his chance to rest during Wednesday's series finale against the Nationals. The versatile Reed Johnson started in Bourn's place Wednesday and in right field for Heyward on Thursday.
"[Heyward] has been playing great," Gonzalez said. "He has raised his game since we moved him into that three-hole."
Heyward has batted .309 with 15 home runs and a .919 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) dating back to June 2. He has been positioned in the third spot of the lineup since June 29.