Jason Heyward is expected to rejoin the Braves on Wednesday after a two-game minor league rehabilitation stint with Triple-A Gwinnett and at that point, the Braves will let Heyward decide if he’s ready to be activated from the disabled list.
This much already has been resolved though, and that’s smoothing things over with Braves veteran Chipper Jones. Jones said Tuesday he called Heyward to clarify his comments last week encouraging Heyward to play through his shoulder injury.
Jones said he thought his original comments to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution were blown out of proportion by national TV networks who characterized it as “calling out Heyward.”
“He and I are fine,” Jones said of Heyward. “I just wanted to explain myself to him, which I shouldn’t have to do. ... I just wanted to make sure there wasn’t a problem between he and I, and once we got done talking, we’re good ...
“He realizes how stuff can get mixed up and turned around. He didn’t take anything personal. The bottom line is we’ve got to get him as healthy as possible, as soon as possible.”
Jones said his comments came in a response to a specific question about Heyward saying he wouldn’t return until his shoulder was completely healed.
“That has a tendency to rub people the wrong way,” Jones had said last week. “And we understand where he’s coming from — he wants to be healthy when he plays, so he can go out and give himself the best opportunity to be successful. I get that ...
“What Jason needs to realize is that Jason at 80 percent is a force, and Jason at 80 percent is better than a lot of people in this league. And that there are a bunch of his teammates that are out there playing with discomfort and not healthy and still going at it.”
Jones said Tuesday he would say the same thing to Heyward’s face, and had, in fact, before he even made these comments publicly.
The Braves scratched first baseman Freddie Freeman just 40 minutes before the start of Tuesday’s series opener against the Mets with a mild right oblique strain. He was listed as day-to-day.
Add him to the long list of injuries. Eric Hinske replaced Freeman at first base and the cleanup spot to leave the Braves with three hitters from the Opening Day lineup in Tuesday’s top eight spots (Dan Uggla, Alex Gonzalez and Jones).
Martin Prado, Nate McLouth and Heyward — the entire starting outfield — are on the disabled list, and David Ross was catching Tuesday in place of Brian McCann, who got a scheduled off day against left-hander Jonathon Niese.
Both McLouth and Heyward are nearing returns, but Prado likely will miss the rest of the month as he recovers from a staph infection. McLouth (oblique) likely is only a few days away from heading to Gwinnett for rehab games.
A trio of injured Braves pitchers are making good progress in their recoveries: Peter Moylan from back surgery, Kris Medlen from elbow surgery and Brandon Beachy from a strained oblique.
Beachy is poised to make the first of two minor league rehabilitation starts for Gwinnett on Thursday. If all goes well he’ll make a second start June 21 and could return to the rotation by the end of the month.
Medlen is close to getting back on the bullpen mound after suffering his first setback in his recovery from ligament-transplant surgery with some scar-tissue breakup. Playing catch the past few days he said he feels like he has that much better range of motion.
Moylan began his rehabilitation Tuesday after reaching the four-week mark since his surgery for a herniated disc. He started by doing core muscle exercises and walking in the therapy pool.
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