Braves encouraged by Heyward's progress

Braves encouraged by Heyward's progress

PHILADELPHIA -- It appears the Braves are going to have to wait at least two more days before putting Jason Heyward back in their lineup. The 20-year-old right fielder now believes that he could return to full-time duties on Tuesday.

Heyward has been limited to pinch-hit duties since a sore right groin forced him to make a second-inning exit from Wednesday's game in Washington. The Braves have been encouraged with the steady progress he has made, and there no longer seems to be any concern about the possibility of having to place him on the disabled list.

"It's getting stronger every day," Heyward said. "I have more strength and I don't get fatigued as quickly. Any soreness is from working out and working the muscle."

Heyward came off the bench on Thursday night to deliver a game-tying, eighth-inning single. But entering Sunday, his only action during this weekend's series in Philadelphia came Saturday, when he grounded out in a pinch-hit appearance in the eighth inning.

Since incurring this ailment, Heyward has not tested the muscle by running or participating in any pregame on-field activities. But after going through some other exercises in the clubhouse, he has still felt some lingering discomfort.

Despite being out of the lineup for four straight games, Heyward entered Sunday with 10 more RBIs than any other Braves player.