ATLANTA -- When Jason Heyward missed nearly a month after undergoing an emergency appendectomy on April 22, he lost strength and the timing he had gained through his offseason workouts and Spring Training. Consequently, he struggled during his first two weeks back in the Braves' lineup.
But while hitting a home run and completing three impressive at-bats in Monday night's win over the Pirates, Heyward showed some indication that he is starting to feel comfortable again at the plate.
"He's a guy you've got to get him some at-bats," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Yesterday's game was good. He really hasn't had too many at-bats."
Heyward hit .121 with two home runs and a .519 OPS in the 58 at-bats he compiled before his surgery. He entered Tuesday having batted .189 with one home run and a .600 OPS in the 53 at-bats recorded since the month-long absence.
"It's good to see results," Heyward said.
Heyward was absent from the Braves' lineup for the second time in a four-day span on Sunday. But he came back strong on Monday and was back in the lineup for Tuesday night's matchup against Pirates' left-hander Jeff Locke. The 23-year-old outfielder will also likely be in the lineup to face southpaw Wandy Rodriguez in Wednesday's series finale against Pittsburgh. Heyward has five hits in 11 career at-bats against Rodriguez.
Beachy struggles to get loose in Monday rehab start
ATLANTA -- Brandon Beachy knew there was no reason to be alarmed when he struggled to get loose during the Minor League rehab start he made for Double-A Mississippi against Chattanooga on Monday night.
Over the course of the past year, Beachy learned this is something pitchers inevitably experience during their first year back from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery.
"Those days are going to happen," Beachy said. "They happen when I'm healthy. I got one out of the way yesterday. Next time, I'll be better prepared to make better adjustments and better pitches when I don't necessarily feel my best."
While feeling less comfortable than he had in his previous rehab starts, Beachy allowed three runs and six hits over five innings. His 80-pitch effort was tarnished by the three hits he surrendered in a two-run second inning and a solo home run he surrendered in the fifth.
"I loosened up the last couple of innings and felt pretty good," Beachy said. "I really struggled to throw effective curveballs and sliders early on. I hung a few and they got some base hits off them."
Beachy will make two more rehab starts before likely being activated to start one of the games in the June 18 doubleheader against the Mets. He will make his rehab start on Saturday for Triple-A Gwinnett.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.