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Heyward gaining energy, could take swings Saturday

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ATLANTA -- Having had the opportunity to walk around and interact with his Braves teammates this week, Jason Heyward has regained some of the energy that was depleted when he essentially remained sedentary for a week following his April 22 appendectomy.

"I'm getting a little more sleep," Heyward said. "It feels better being a little more active, not just sitting at home. I'm actually having to stand up, walk around and move around."

Heyward is expected to begin taking dry swings with a bat on Saturday. If all goes well, he could begin hitting off a tee, playing catch and jogging as early as Monday. His progress from there will depend on how his body reacts to different challenges.

While it is still too early for Heyward to pinpoint a specific date for his return, he remains hopeful that he will not need to wait until the final days of this month to get back in the Braves' lineup.

"As far as the end of May, I'd be disappointed if I had to wait that long," Heyward said. "I want to be back sooner rather than later."

If Heyward returns too soon before his abdominal muscles have healed, he runs the risk of straining an oblique muscle or sustaining a hernia.

Braves hitting coach Greg Walker held the same role with the White Sox in 2011, when Adam Dunn returned from an appendectomy in less than a week in early April. Dunn then proceeded to have the worst season of his career.

"Everybody has told me to take my time," Heyward said.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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