Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward began his minor league rehab assignment yesterday, and if all continues to go well during his recovery process he could return to the majors early next week, according to David O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
During his first minor league rehab appearance, Heyward went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and a walk for the Braves' Triple-A affiliate. He served as the team's designated hitter, but he's expected to man the outfield today.
The Braves will likely want to see Heyward play the outfield for one or two full games in the minors before activating him, and manager Fredi Gonzalez said the earliest a return could happen is Monday.
Heyward was placed on the disabled list soon after undergoing an emergency appendectomy. Prior to hitting the DL, the 23-year-old was struggling mightily for Atlanta, hitting only .121/.261/.259 with two doubles and two home runs over 60 plate appearances.
Without Heyward, the Braves have used Jordan Schafer and Reed Johnson in right field, and the duo has performed well in their platoon roles.
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