Heyward back in lineup for Braves

Braves right fielder Jason Heyward returned the lineup Tuesday after missing four games with a bruised left thumb.

Heyward left Wednesday’s game against the Nationals after he was hit in the hand with a pitch. X-rays were negative for a fracture but Heyward had been unable to grip a bat since then.

Heyward sent manager Fredi Gonzalez a text Tuesday afternoon asking him to give him a chance to play catch and take some swings in the batting cage before Gonzalez made out the lineup. Gonzalez said he’s confident Heyward isn’t risking further injury by playing.

“It’s a bone bruise,” Heyward said. “That’s the root of the evil. But the swelling is down.”

Heyward was placed on the disabled list during his rookie season of 2010 with a bone bruise to the same thumb and a strained ligament. He ended up missing 13 games because of that injury.

“This one is different,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to playing.”

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