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Heyward to play in XM Futures Game

Heyward invited to Futures Game

ATLANTA -- Jason Heyward was invited on Thursday to participate with other highly touted prospects during this year's XM All-Star Futures Game.

Heyward was the only player from the Braves organization invited to compete in this contest, which kicks off All-Star weekend. But he'll be joined by Triple-A Gwinnett pitching coach Derek Botelho, who will serve as a coach for the U.S. Team, which will be managed by Ozzie Smith.

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The 11th annual XM All-Star Futures Game, pitting the best Minor League prospects from the United States against the best from the rest of the World, will be held at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on All-Star Sunday on July 12 at 2 p.m. ET. MLB.com will provide complete coverage before, during and after the game, which can be seen live on ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on Gameday.

Heyward, whom the Braves took with their first selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, ranks as MLB.com's third-best overall prospect. Provided the opportunity to experience his first Major League camp this spring, the 19-year-old outfielder drew regular praise from Braves manager Bobby Cox.

Through his first 41 games with Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach this season, Heyward has hit .288 with nine homers and an .889 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage).

In his first full professional season with Class A Rome last year, Heyward ranked third in the South Atlantic League with a .323 batting average and fourth with a .388 on-base percentage.

With an athletic 6-foot-4 frame, Heyward has proven to be an above-average outfielder with his range and strong arm. There is some thought that he could make his Major League debut at some point during the 2010 season.

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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