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Braves OF upbeat about progress from beaning

ATLANTA — Braves RF Jason Heyward said Saturday that his recovery from a broken jaw is "going in the right direction."

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Heyward was encouraged after taking batting practice for the second straight day. He is wearing a protective flap on his helmet and using a mouthpiece as protection for his surgically repaired jaw, which was fractured when he was hit by a pitch from Mets RHP Jonathon Niese on Aug. 21.

"It's been fun," said Heyward, who also caught fly balls and threw in the outfield. "I'm just really anxious to play baseball as soon as possible."

The slugger showed more power in his swings before Atlanta's game against the Padres on Saturday than he did Friday. He pulled a pitch high off the foul pole in rightfield.

"I don't know how long we'll be doing this until we do something else," manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said Heyward could be sent to instructional league in Florida this week. The Braves hope to have Heyward back with the team and playing rightfield before the end of the regular season. There's no special urgency to rush him, with Atlanta holding a commanding lead in the National League East.

Heyward said he's not worried about the mental part of his return after being beaned.

"I haven't really had to think about it at all," he said. "I feel safe. That's the main thing."

ASTROS: C Cody Clark, 32, who made his major-league debut Aug. 23 after 11 years in the minors, got his first hit Friday night after starting his career 0-for-25.

DODGERS: LF Andre Ethier sat out with soreness in his left ankle and is day to day. Minor-league OFs Nick Buss and Alex Castellanos, who had been working out at the team's spring complex in Glendale, Ariz., were called up.

MARINERS: RHP Felix Hernandez, who hasn't pitched since Sept. 2 because of a minor oblique strain on his left side, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Monday and could return to the rotation Wednesday.

METS: RH reliever Frank Francisco left in the eighth inning when a line drive by the Marlins' Logan Morrison struck his right hand. The ball hit him square on his thumb and caused significant swelling, espn.com reported. … 3B David Wright, out since Aug. 2 with a Grade 2 strain of his right hamstring, could be activated from the disabled list as soon as Tuesday.

PIRATES: LHP Wandy Rodriguez, on the disabled list since June 6 with stiffness in his left forearm, was shut down for the season.

REDS: RHP Johnny Cueto, out since June 28 with a recurrence of a lat strain, threw another bullpen session and could be close to rejoining the rotation.

YANKEES: OF Alfonso Soriano was scratched because of a sprained right thumb and is day to day.

Braves OF upbeat about progress from beaning 09/14/13 [Last modified: Saturday, September 14, 2013 8:27pm]

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