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Heyward, Uptons won't return before All-Star break

Heyward, Uptons won't return before All-Star break

Heyward, Uptons won't return before All-Star break

ATLANTA -- While Jason Heyward, B.J. Upton and Justin Upton won't see the field until after the All-Star break, some encouraging initial reports on Saturday morning indicated that the Braves could have at least one member of their ailing Opening Day outfield back in the lineup by the time the team opens its first series after the break in Chicago on Friday.

Heyward appears to be the farthest along of the three after leaving Thursday's game in the second inning with a strained right hamstring he sustained running the bases.

"I think Jason's good," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "From what I've heard the last couple days, if we hold him off this weekend, I think he's going to be fine because he's responding to treatment."

B.J. Upton was encouraged by the overnight progress of his strained right adductor muscle, which he suffered diving for a sharply hit line drive in the first inning of Friday's 4-2 loss. However, it was still too early to nail down a timetable for the centerfielder's return.

"I definitely thought it would be a lot worse, especially after going home last night and kind of giving it time to settle down," Upton said. "It didn't really feel that great, so I kind of didn't know what to expect this morning. But I woke up this morning and actually kind of felt better than it did last night."

The biggest remaining unknown was the status of Justin Upton, who met with the media Friday night after leaving in the seventh inning with a left calf strain but was not available before the game on Saturday. Upton pulled up halfway down the line running out a ground ball and was replaced in the field the next half inning.

"That's the one that's trickiest because you don't know what you have until you really check it out." Gonzalez said. "Those calves can be nagging, you know?"

After both Uptons were re-evaluated by team doctors before Saturday's game, the Braves optioned reliever Alex Wood to Triple-A Gwinnett to make room on the roster for outfielder Jose Constanza, a move that indicated neither Upton was injured enough for a disabled-list stint.

"During the course of the game, you're thinking 'OK, who do we want out there and where?' That kind of stuff," Gonzalez said. "You just wait for it and know that you're going to survive it and know that you have to get through it and just keep going."

Eric Single is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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