It isn’t just an everyday occurrence for anyone to resume normal activities a few weeks after suffering a broken jaw. Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward is doing just that though, proving how badly he wants to play in the 2013 MLB postseason. Of course being back playing and really being back to the player he was before getting hit are two different things. That leads to many questions about Heyward’s readiness for the playoff atmosphere and namely his timing at the plate.
Thursday night against the Philadelphia Phillies proved all that needed proving for Heyward. He went 5 for 5 with one home run, three doubles and one infield single. You might think that proves nothing because it was the Phillies but that isn’t the right way to look at this. Does the seven run outburst mean the Braves’ offense is back and ready? It might or might not because the runs came early in the game off of a certain pitcher and they scored no more after that.
Unlike the offense as a whole, it is easy to say Heyward is back and ready to play full speed ahead because his hits continued throughout the game, no matter who was pitching. He has already proven in previous games that he can dive for a ball or slam into the outfield wall without ill-effects.
Now with a five hit game he has proven that he has his timing back. Perhaps most importantly, he proved by the way he hustled on all of the doubles and the infield single in the seventh inning that his legs and body are conditioned to play hard all game long. I suspect he might get at least one more day off before the end of the regular season but make no mistake about it: Heyward is back and the Braves offense needs him like the desert needs rain.