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Heyward showing signs of snapping slump

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.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for
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