Back in lineup, Heyward playing it safe on bases

Back in lineup, Heyward playing it safe on bases

NEW YORK -- When Jason Heyward grabbed at his right hamstring after sliding awkwardly into third base on July 11, it appeared he might have suffered an injury that would have sidelined him for a significant period. But thanks to the All-Star break and some good fortune, Heyward missed just six games.

Heyward returned to the Braves' lineup for Monday night's series opener against the Mets at Citi Field. The 23-year-old outfielder said he might show some caution while running the bases over the next few days.

"I've got to be smart about it, because it is so close to it happening," Heyward said. "I've got to know when to push and when not to push. Defensive-wise, I'm not concerned at all. Baserunning-wise, it's where I have to be smart. But I have it in me to push when I need to score on a ball or something like that."

Heyward might have returned during this past weekend's series against the White Sox if he would have been handling his primary duties in right field. But because the Braves are planning for him to play center field until B.J. Upton returns from the disabled list, Heyward opted to rest his leg at least one additional day.

Upton has been sidelined since July 12 with a strained right adductor muscle. While he was able to jog on the field before Monday night's game, the Braves have not set a projected timetable for his return.

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