Heyward likely for Braves leadoff role

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Heyward likely for Braves leadoff role

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Braves don’t have their first full-squad workout until Wednesday, but already manager Fredi Gonzalez has been asked multiple times about Jason Heyward and whether he plans to bat the big right fielder in the leadoff spot this season.

The answer, at least for now, is yes.

“If you had to start the season tomorrow, I think you would run him out there,” Gonzalez said. “Everybody talks about the lineups, and the lineup is something that’s not in concrete. You can start with one lineup and finish with a different one.”

In 2013, the Braves exhausted seemingly every leadoff option before turning to the 6-4, 235-pound Heyward in August. He proceeded to thrive in the role for 3-1/2 weeks before having his jaw broken by a fastball.

Heyward hit .322 (38-for-118) with nine doubles, six homers and a .403 on-base percentage from the leadoff spot.

Pastornicky easing back: Utility infielder Tyler Pastornicky is coming back from knee surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament in August, and might be limited for a couple of weeks. Pastornicky is running and hitting but hasn’t been cleared for activities involved lateral movement and cutting.

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