Heyward reports to camp, with muscles and protective guard

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Jason Heyward reported to Braves spring training Saturday sporting a thicker beard and a little more muscle on what was already a chiseled, 235-pound physique.

“He’s at the point in his career where he knows how to get ready for a season. He’s got that part of it figured out,” Braves hitting coach Greg Walker said of the right fielder, who signed a two-year, $13.3 million extension two weeks ago.

Heyward took batting practice wearing the helmet with a protective guard attachment over his right cheek and jaw, which he used last year after having his jaw broken in August by a fastball from Mets left-hander Jonathon Niese. He required surgery and returned one month later.

He had said last month that he planned to continue wearing the protective guard in 2014.

Heyward and third baseman Chris Johnson, another early arrival Saturday, were greeted by shouts and hugs from teammates when they entered the clubhouse. Reporting date for position players other than catchers is Tuesday and the first full-squad workout is Wednesday, but most on the projected 25-man roster are are already in camp.

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Among lineup regulars, the only absentees are shortstop Andrelton Simmons and the Uptons, outfielders Justin and B.J.

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