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Heyward building up strength with second day of BP

Braves outfielder having no issues with protective flap on helmet
MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Jason Heyward completed his second consecutive day of full participation in pregame warmups alongside his Braves teammates without incident Saturday. In the process, he confirmed the club's expectation that the more time the outfielder spends on the field going through typical baseball activities, the quicker he will return to game strength.

Unlike Friday's initial batting practice, Heyward sent a few balls over the fence Saturday afternoon during his second public session in the cage since suffering a fractured jaw Aug. 21. He seemed confident that those results would build on themselves as his recovery continues.

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ATLANTA -- Jason Heyward completed his second consecutive day of full participation in pregame warmups alongside his Braves teammates without incident Saturday. In the process, he confirmed the club's expectation that the more time the outfielder spends on the field going through typical baseball activities, the quicker he will return to game strength.

Unlike Friday's initial batting practice, Heyward sent a few balls over the fence Saturday afternoon during his second public session in the cage since suffering a fractured jaw Aug. 21. He seemed confident that those results would build on themselves as his recovery continues.

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"Each day on the field, it's going to begin to come back more and more and more," Heyward said. "I've been swinging in the cage just to be ready for these past two days, and now the outdoor process begins, just getting ready to do things physically outside on the baseball field."

Heyward has not encountered any issues with the sizeable protective addition to his helmet, which covers his right jaw, from his earhole to the corner of his mouth. He also popped out a protective mouthguard to speak with reporters about his progress after completing batting practice.

"I haven't really had to think about it at all," Heyward said. "I just feel safe, and that's the main thing. I've got a mouthpiece to wear as well -- no big deal, I've worn a mouthpiece before. My main focus is just getting ready to play baseball and get in shape."

While manager Fredi Gonzalez was encouraged after watching Heyward's cage work and checking up on him throughout Friday night's game, he was not ready to set anything in stone about the team's plans to send Heyward to the Instructional League next week to see some live at-bats before he is activated.

"He could probably do more [down there] because I'm sure we could find some young pitchers down there that we trust throwing strikes, and he could see some live pitches," Gonzalez said. "We've discussed it, but we don't know what the timetable is. But there's plenty of things he could do down there."

Eric Single is an associate reporter for MLB.com.

Atlanta Braves, Jason Heyward