Posted: 6:03 pm Monday, March 10th, 2014

Streaking Heyward’s leadoff homer starts ATL offense 

By David O'Brien

 

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Jason Heyward’s towering first-inning leadoff home run extended his streak to six hits (including two homers) in six consecutive plate appearances, and started the Braves toward their best overall game of the spring in an 8-1 win Monday against the Phillies.

Dan Uggla added a long two-run homer, second-base prospect Tommy La Stella had a two-run double off closer Jonathan Papelbon, and the Braves got two hits apiece from B.J. Upton, Freddie Freeman and Chris Johnson for their third win in 15 Grapefruit League games.

Heyward unloaded on the second pitch of the game from Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee, driving it over the right-field fence and also over a second chain-link fence atop a berm some 30 feet beyond the outfield.

“That’s stuff Jason can do right there – a 6-foot-5 guy who can lead off the game with a home run, or a double, or he can walk and steal you a base,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “When he stays healthy and stays on the field he always puts up good numbers.”

Heyward hit .254 with 14 homers and a .359 on-base percentage in 104 games last season, missing a month early after an emergency appendectomy, and missing another month late – including most of September — after having his jaw broken when hit by a fastball from Mets lefty Jon Niese.

“Last year it wasn’t his fault, neither of the injuries,” Gonzalez said. “You get appendicitis and then you get a broken jaw and miss significant time. But if he stays on the field, he could put up some big numbers.

Uggla, who had been 1-for-6 with three strikeouts and a walk in his previous two games, went 1-for-2 with a walk and his first homer of the spring Monday. He drove a pitch from lefty Mario Hollands onto the thatched roof of Frenchy’s tiki hit bar-restaurant beyond left field.

 

2 comments
BradleyBreeze
BradleyBreeze

Good to see Heyward doing well...........you watch he will turn it up a notch and become the player we all thought he would be..........He just seen his buddy Freddie get big$ and at least we will be able to see him for the next 2 years anyway..............he is playing for a big$ contract now!

GT71
GT71

Everyone is equal and equally hopeful in March.  But it is still good to look at a box and see 2 hits in 1 game by players who averaged 2 hits evey 5 ames last season.

You know who they are....don't spook them by typing their names.