MOOSIC, Pa. -- Jason Heyward got off to a rough start in his rehab assignment with the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves. He went hitless in five at-bats with three strikeouts in his first game and was scratched Friday night due to soreness. But after another hitless night on Saturday, he rebounded with an uplifting day at the plate Sunday, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Heyward did not make his debut defensively. Instead, he batted second and was Gwinnett's designated hitter.
Heyward struck out in his first at-bat against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre starter Kelvin Perez, but fared much better in his second. With runners at second and third, Heyward scorched a single to right field, driving home both runners. The fastball from Perez was a bit inside, but Heyward was able to drive it into right field.
His third plate appearance was a bit more fortuitous. Facing the Yankees' top relief prospect, Mark Montgomery, Heyward broke his bat on a slider, but was able to bloop a single into right field.
Heyward drove in another run in the sixth inning. With a runner at third, he faced left-handed specialist Josh Spence. Heyward hammered a ball to deep center field, and while Melky Mesa made the catch near the warning track, the runner advanced home. It was the hardest hit ball by Heyward on the day, caught just 10 feet in front of the center-field fence at PNC Field.
After a rainy start to the series in northeastern Pennsylvania, Heyward and the Braves were able to take batting practice outside for the first time. Heyward hit in the first group, and routinely drove balls to the right-center field gap. Heyward is expected to be in the lineup for Gwinnett on Monday night, as they wrap up their series against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Andrew Kappes is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.