Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 5/1/12

Manager Fredi Gonzalez and the Braves training staff are taking no chances on lingering injuries this season. That is the residue of last September's collapse, caused in part by catcher Brian McCann's weak offense after coming back too soon from a strained left oblique. So when right-fielder Jason Heyward woke up Monday morning with a tender right oblique, there was no question he'd be out of the lineup.

Obliques were an issue for the Braves all last season from the beginning of the season. From right-hander Jair Jurrjens though right-hander Brandon Beachy, centerfielder Nate McLouth, first baseman Freddie Freeman to McCann, the strained oblique was the injury du jour.

Third baseman Chipper Jones's surgically repaired left knee will be a topic all this season. He and Gonzalez knew that going into the season and they are managing games accordingly; Jones calls Gonzalez every morning to let him know whether he can play. But Jones is a veteran who knows his body thoroughly and who can accurately gauge how well he can perform.

For everyone else, Gonzalez wants to see proof. When McCann texted Gonzalez on Sunday morning that he wanted to play that day, after leaving Friday's game and sitting out Saturday with a sore right intercostal (ribcage) muscle, he was put through some paces by the training staff.

Heyward will be tested every bit as thoroughly, given how thumb and shoulder injuries clung to him all last season, causing Gonzalez to platoon for him in right. He slumped so badly that general manager Frank Wren, in his season wrap-up with reporters, went so far as to say that Heyward was not guaranteed the starting right field position in 2012.

In Heyward's absence Monday, infielder-outfielder Eric Hinske was deployed to right. Not quite as speedy as Heyward, Hinske lumbered to an inelegant catch almost into the stands in the first inning, but was one of the bright spots for the Braves on offense, going 4 for 4 with an RBI in the 9-3 loss to the Pirates.

Gonzalez is leaning towards holding Heyward out of Tuesday's game versus the Phillies, so Hinske might get even more at-bats.

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