Heyward has earned Francoeur's admiration

Heyward has earned Francoeur's admiration

NEW YORK -- When it came time for Brian McCann to travel to Citi Field for Friday night's series opener against the Mets, the catcher called his childhood friend, Jeff Francoeur, and essentially said, "Hey, come pick me up."

Francoeur ended up bringing McCann, Chipper Jones and Jason Heyward from the Braves' hotel in Manhattan to his new office in Queens. The Mets' right fielder said that like many others in the baseball world, he has enjoyed watching Heyward find success during the early days of his career.

"They've got a superstar on their hands there," Francoeur said. "It's worked out great for him there, and it's worked out great for me."

When the Braves traded Francoeur in July, they did so because of the offensive struggles he had endured over the previous year and a half. But at the same time, they knew they'd soon need to open the right-field spot for Heyward, who at the time was firmly establishing himself as the game's top prospect.

Because they share the same agent, Francoeur and Heyward have spoken in the past. But still, Atlanta's 20-year-old phenom showed his easygoing, quiet approach when one of his predecessors drove him to work on Friday.

"He said like three words," Francoeur said. "He's having fun, and that's what is going to help him have success and not go through the roller-coaster ride that I went through. He's very, very mature for his age."