Heyward’s Heart and Hustle Recognized

Braves’ right fielder Jason Heyward is the Braves’ nominee for Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association’s 2014 Heart and Hustle Award.

Every year a member from each MLB team is selected by a committee of alumni. Heyward was informed of the honor by manager Fredi Gonzalez on Tuesday afternoon.

“He sent me a text earlier today and told me, let me know and congratulated me,” Heyward said. “I told him thank you. And I found out that the coaches do vote for you so I definitely told him I appreciate it.”

Heyward said he believes his ability to play hard on both sides of the ball has earned him the honor.

“I don’t leave too many games not getting dirty,” Heyward said. “That’s the way I love to play the game. Play hard but not recklessly. Playing smart and respecting the game. … You can’t coach hustling.”

Before the end of the season, fans, Alumni and active players will vote to select the final winner from the 30 nominees. The final winner will be named on November 18 at charity dinner in New York City.

“In baseball, you look at the criteria for that award, I think he hits all of the criteria,” Gonzalez said. “The way he plays the game, the way he carries himself on and off the field. We have a good representative.”

During his first year in the majors, Heyward was the Braves’ 2010 Heart and Hustle nominee but he has yet to claim the big win. Heyward said he isn’t worried about living up to the award or proving he deserves the top honor.

“There’s nothing to live up to. That’s me every day, that’s the way I enjoy playing the game and it’s been that way since I was five years old,” Heyward said. “This is a kid’s game but we’re grown men and we’re fortunate enough to be able to play it.”