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Heyward sits out, expected to start Monday

Heyward sits out, expected to start Monday

Heyward sits out, expected to start Monday

CHICAGO -- Jason Heyward didn't start for the sixth straight game Sunday while recovering from a strain of his right hamstring, but Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez expects to put his name in the lineup Monday in New York.

Heyward didn't start any of the three games against the White Sox this weekend, after missing the final three games of a four-game series against the Reds before the All-Star break. Before taking batting practice and doing some running Sunday, Heyward said he felt "really good," and was available to be used as a defensive replacement.

He also said Gonzalez told him the plan will be for him to play center field upon his return, until B.J. Upton (right adductor muscle strain) comes off the 15-day disabled list.

"I just wanted to make sure my legs were 100 percent before I can go out there and attempt to do that, so having this extra day is great for me," Heyward said. "I'm ready to go play some defense late in the game if I have to and [Monday] we'll see where we're at … but I think I'm ready to go. I'm excited about playing."

Gonzalez isn't sure where he'll slide hot-hitting Chris Johnson into the lineup once Heyward returns. Johnson has been in the second slot and hitting the ball hard. Johnson came into Sunday's game 4-of-8 in this series and 7-for-17 during a four-game hitting streak.

Sunday was just the sixth time he's hit in the second spot this season, but Johnson is used to bouncing around, as he's hit in every spot but leadoff and ninth in 2013.

"He keeps hitting," Gonzalez said. "He's got a good swing. He stays on the ball and gives you good at-bats. Let's say Heyward plays, I don't know where we're going to put Chris. I may move Chris back down. If I lead him off in a game, I don't know what he'd do … take a pitch, not take a pitch, sometimes guys start getting confused."

Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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