Dented truck, smashed sunroof … Heyward’s hitting

Lake Buena Vista, Fla. – A dented Coca-Cola truck and a smashed sunroof on a team executive’s car. The carnage from Braves prospect Jason Heyward’s first rounds of batting practice Tuesday.

“He’s strong as an ox,” hitting coach Terry Pendleton said of the 6-foot-5, 245-pound rookie right fielder.

“Every ball was just scalded,” said manager Bobby Cox, who compared the sound of the ball off Heyward’s bat to when Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle took batting practice.

The Coke truck was rolling past the right-center field fence at Champion Stadium when Heyward hit a screamer towards the gap. The ball kept rising, the seemed to hone in on its target, smashing into it with the sound like a brick against a garage door.

A few swings later, the same truck was parked in a lot behind the right-field fence. Heyward, 20, hit a ball completely over it, smashing the sunroof of assistant general manager Bruce Manno’s car.

“I have a big frame, I guess that’s where some of that comes from,” Heyward said modestly, while standing in the Braves clubhouse, in an undershirt stretched tight around his bulging biceps.

He hit line drives to all parts of the field, including one up the middle that ricocheted with alarming ferocity off a T-shaped screen that protects the person – in this case Pendleton – throwing batting practice.

The coach threw the next pitch behind Heyward, and the big rookie laughed along with Pendleton and everyone else standing at the batting cage.

“The ball sounds a little different coming off his bat, doesn’t it?” Pendleton said later.

“His line drive is like the old Hank Aaron sound,” Cox said. “I don’t want to put him in that class, but it’s the same sound. The same ring off the bat.”

Braves officials say Heyward can win the right-field job if he shows he’s ready in spring training. The decision won’t be based on what he does in batting practice, obviously.

But power displays like this will make things more interesting this spring, while adding to an aura around the Henry County High graduate. Heyward insists he never tries to hit home runs – even in batting practice.

“I’m a line-drive guy,” said Heyward, rated baseball’s No. 1 prospect by ESPN, Baseball America and MLB.com. “Anything that happens to come after a line drive is great.”

Veteran utility man Eric Hinske, a former American League Rookie of the Year, hit in the same group as the young center of attention Tuesday.

“He looks like he’s all he’s been built up to be,” Hinske said. “His body reminds me of a bigger Carl Crawford, and he hits balls like Cliff Floyd — that hard. Low line drives.”

And plenty of line drives that start out low and keep rising … and rising.

“A line drive that just happens to go a little further,” Heyward said of his homers.

Hinske wasn’t around last spring when Heyward left a good impression as a 19-year-old non-roster invitee in spring training. But the veteran has noticed why other Braves and team officials laud Heyward for more than physical ability.

“He just comes in and does his work quietly,” Hinske said. “He knows he’s a rookie and knows he shouldn’t say much. That’s good. He’s got a good head on his shoulders.”

Photo galleries from AJC.com: Meet Jason Heyward | Braves Caravan stops in Henry County

101 comments Add your comment

sidslidkid

February 23rd, 2010
5:58 pm

I love reading all the Heyward hype. This kid is going to be great if he lives up to just half of the hype. Fun time to be a Braves fan.

jeffrey d

February 23rd, 2010
5:58 pm

They shouldn’t have gotten in the way

Josh Smildress

February 23rd, 2010
6:18 pm

Any news on Jordan Schaffer, I remember when all the spring training stories were about him. Nothing to report on how he is doing?

TheAntiMe

February 23rd, 2010
6:23 pm

Coke or Pepsi? I would say that Jason Heyward prefers Coke.

Cannon

February 23rd, 2010
6:26 pm

This kid has all the ability to be a super star. I sure hope he pans out.

18 Wheels of Love

February 23rd, 2010
6:28 pm

Let’s call him Dent.

Cannon

February 23rd, 2010
6:28 pm

If he one day does turn into a star I guarantee that Coke will turn today’s events into a commercial. You heard it here 1st. I want me royalties Coca-Cola :)

KingfishStevens

February 23rd, 2010
6:29 pm

I saw Jason play a couple of times last year and I thought he was still a year away. Looks like I was wrong. I hope so.

Skip Caray T-Shirt

February 23rd, 2010
6:31 pm

The Skip Caray T-Shirt is available online now! A portion of the proceeds benefit the Skip Caray Family of Charities.

http://www.skipshirt.com

DawgNDallas

February 23rd, 2010
6:31 pm

Since it’s Bobby’s last season, I think he’ll bring Heyward up just so he won’t miss seeing the rookie play up close. That’s what I’d do.

Matt_t

February 23rd, 2010
6:33 pm

PROSPECT PORN!

BumpWren

February 23rd, 2010
6:39 pm

it’s too bad it’s not Bobby’s choice… Frank Wren will keep Heyward in the minors until may, simply to avoid his arbitration eligibility coming in 2 years. however, may might not be long enough if Heyward ends up putting up the kind of numbers he’s expected to once he comes up! either way, i see Frank’s cheap, business oriented a$$ starting the Jay Hey Kid in the minors

penultimate man

February 23rd, 2010
6:50 pm

i sure hope he’s evaluated just on baseball terms. and paid accordingly. that kind of potential greatness needs to be encouraged.

i like the nickname Dent. what’s the next step? register it with the national nickname registry?

Collin

February 23rd, 2010
6:54 pm

BumpWren: If Heyward has a good showing he will be the starter or Wren wont have a job.

755 Club

February 23rd, 2010
6:56 pm

Heyward that ball go? Oh, it’s in the side of the Coke truck.

Say what kid

February 23rd, 2010
6:58 pm

Sounds like he was batting with ‘Wonderboy”. Next it will be lights and scoreboards.

AJ

February 23rd, 2010
7:07 pm

Where will Heyward start the season?

Snotboogie

February 23rd, 2010
7:10 pm

“I have a big frame, I guess that’s where some of that comes from,” Heyward said modestly, while standing in the Braves clubhouse, in an undershirt stretched tight around his bulging biceps.

Sounds like something out of a harlequin romance novel catering to the female audience.

BobHornerWannabe

February 23rd, 2010
7:13 pm

Anybody can hit a coke truck, If he wants to really impress, he should hit the big Coke Bottle at Turner Field. Now that would be something!

JP

February 23rd, 2010
7:13 pm

Didn’t we say the same thing about a young Brad Komminsk, Jeff Franceuor,. We as Braves fan always hype up our young stars. Lets be cool and let Bobby teach him the ropes and he will be fine.

casey from idaho

February 23rd, 2010
7:14 pm

Lay off the references to wonderboy, Roy Hobbs, and especially The Natural. Last kid the Braves stuck in right field that drew those comparisons ended up such a head-case that we cursed when he came up to bat. And it got so bad that we traded him to NY.

Southpaw

February 23rd, 2010
7:16 pm

I remember when my dad used to go to spring training in West Palm every year. He told me about Justice and his sweet swing. From what I read, Heyward has that pure swing; Chipper compared him to McGriff; now Bobby to Mantle and Aaron. Line drive hitters are the best. Lookin’ forward to the future.

"Chef" Tim Dix

February 23rd, 2010
7:20 pm

Here to second the nickname “Dent”.

Brave4life

February 23rd, 2010
7:23 pm

I really hope he can live up to the hype. I hope he is the next Longoria, Wright, Braun,

Nilo Silvan

February 23rd, 2010
7:23 pm

Come on Eric Hinske, you just compared our future to Cliff Floyd?

Pete

February 23rd, 2010
7:26 pm

OMG!! ONE BP session and now he’s the next Roy Hobbs. How many sure thing prospects now work at Home Depot!! Give the kid a break! You’re just setting him up for an epic fall….

KC

February 23rd, 2010
7:28 pm

“Heyward said modestly, while standing in the Braves clubhouse, in an undershirt stretched tight around is bulging biceps.”

Does anyone else think this very descriptive statement sounds a little too romance-novel-like for a perfectly heterosexual Braves beat writer? =)

Brave4life

February 23rd, 2010
7:28 pm

I agree with you PETE, let the kid play ball, he has a lot of pressure on him the next few months,

NRBQ

February 23rd, 2010
7:30 pm

How about “Smash?”

Bobby Cox

February 23rd, 2010
7:31 pm

he’s the real deal….and I have to retire….screw that I’m staying another couple of years

"Chef" Tim Dix

February 23rd, 2010
7:31 pm

AND here to fore…Dent is from Mac Don Ah not Muc dun a.

C from Marietta

February 23rd, 2010
7:32 pm

I am saying a prayer for Mr Heyward tonight. Media hype = over inflated expectations that no one can EVER live up too.

BravesFanLostinOhio

February 23rd, 2010
7:37 pm

YES! Let’s call him “Dent.” I love it!

Martin From Oakland, CA

February 23rd, 2010
7:38 pm

i like heystack for a nickname more

a643dp

February 23rd, 2010
7:42 pm

Jason “HEMI” Heyward…… I like that one

Heyward's Hips

February 23rd, 2010
7:42 pm

Here’s for Dent starting in Right field.

Martin From Oakland, CA

February 23rd, 2010
7:48 pm

Say-HEY-Dent!

Satchmo

February 23rd, 2010
7:49 pm

Like Hank says, let’s not get to big on a rookie, until he makes the show. The test of time will weigh out, and today’s “hammer” has all that in front of him.

Car Crusher : baseballmusings.com

February 23rd, 2010
7:50 pm

[...] Jason Heyward damaged a car and a truck with balls he hit in batting practice today: “He’s strong as an ox,” hitting coach Terry Pendleton said of the 6-foot-5, 245-pound rookie right fielder. [...]

Pete

February 23rd, 2010
7:52 pm

Next thing you know, Heyward’s gonna get shot by some mysterious women wearing a veil on a train, come back to a rickety old Turner Field in 2025 and hit the outfield lights out with a homer with a bloodstain on his jersey….

Sambo

February 23rd, 2010
7:57 pm

New Nickname suggestion – The J-Hey Kid

atlwolf

February 23rd, 2010
8:00 pm

“Dent” works, but I think “Damage” might be more appropriate. Lol he broke a sunroof! That’s funny.

summer of 91

February 23rd, 2010
8:31 pm

Bobby will come up with the nickname yelling from the dugout. I’m thinking “hey”- as in ‘Come on Hey! “

Martin From Oakland, CA

February 23rd, 2010
8:32 pm

how about “ward”? and you call for him you just scream out HEY WARD!

The Heyward

February 23rd, 2010
8:32 pm

Heyward smash ball. Heyward hit ball good, no? Heyward destroy Phillies.

willlinn

February 23rd, 2010
8:38 pm

to be honest, it might be a blessing that Francoeur and Schaffer came before him…obviously he is a bigger prospect than both of them, but their stories are unavoidably present in his mind…That being said, Francouer was a natural…and ONLY a natural. Heyward is also level-headed and coachable. And for the record, I am on the side of those arguing that Schaffer’s problems were primarily based on injury. At the same time though, there exists a possibility that he will be better off after that episode…

schoopla

February 23rd, 2010
8:49 pm

Jason Heyward: 0 at bats in a MLB uniform. Chill out people. The worst thing this guy can be is baseball’s number one prospect with everyone wetting themselves over him.

Ralph

February 23rd, 2010
8:54 pm

So Cox will probably start him in Gwinnette and bring back Norton.

raindawg722

February 23rd, 2010
8:55 pm

Martin Prado is going to have to start taking fielding practice in chain mail.

summer of 91

February 23rd, 2010
9:10 pm

whenever Bobby can’t come up with a good nickname he just yells “come on kid”

Jeff Francoeur

February 23rd, 2010
9:11 pm

Do Ya miss me YET!!Dang I knew it!

Jeff Failcoeur

February 23rd, 2010
9:14 pm

Craig

February 23rd, 2010
9:18 pm

Ok Heyward you play good just dont break anything. Agreed?Ha this should definitely be Coke ad!!!!!!!

sidslidkid

February 23rd, 2010
9:20 pm

Heyward’s new poster:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/47804530@N07/4383864106/

Apparently he’s trying to get “Dent” to catch on.

brian

February 23rd, 2010
9:24 pm

heywerd well play good for ever

brian

February 23rd, 2010
9:25 pm

heywerd will hit 18 homers

brian

February 23rd, 2010
9:26 pm

chipper will hit 17

brian

February 23rd, 2010
9:28 pm

and bmac will hit 25

Dayman

February 23rd, 2010
9:39 pm

tnt

February 23rd, 2010
9:50 pm

“PROSPECT PORN!” lol

hal

February 23rd, 2010
9:50 pm

we will know hes good if tp cant ruin him

JTCobb

February 23rd, 2010
10:13 pm

How about “Road Hazard”?

TheAntiMe

February 23rd, 2010
11:14 pm

I have a feeling that Mr. Heyward is more Bob Horner than Brad Komminsk.

Scott G

February 23rd, 2010
11:36 pm

Another vote for Dent!

Rusty

February 23rd, 2010
11:58 pm

I hit a Coke truck and got a speeding ticket. Dent Heyward. DH? I dont like DH.

wallypip

February 24th, 2010
12:38 am

DOB, the ball didn’t “hone” in on the Coke truck. A ball could “home” in on it, however. To hone, is to sharpen, as with a knife, or as in skills. Hope the Braves can hone their skills during spring training, and then home in on a division title.

JTH

February 24th, 2010
1:58 am

Leave him in the minors until after the All-Star break to keep him for a extra year cheaply. Because Liberty Media a’int paying crap long term.

Conyers Braves Fan

February 24th, 2010
3:57 am

Like most everyone else has said…..too much hype equals too much pressure which can insure failure.
One article like this is o.k but enough is enough for awhile. Lets see how he does when the spring training games start and he faces real pitching.

Braves Paisan

February 24th, 2010
6:33 am

Getting pysched for the season, fellow Denizens!

Historically, the great ones have been able to play at the Major League level at age 20.

Notso Fast

February 24th, 2010
6:59 am

We have had so many “can’t miss” propects in the past that didn’t ever get the job done but it sure is fun to hope that he will be the one to help bring the Braves back.

Vince

February 24th, 2010
7:25 am

I SAY Heyward hits 29 Homeruns

Bartman

February 24th, 2010
7:26 am

Hey DOB, if the Braves happen to win the NL and make the World Series, do you think they still push Bobby out…er, he retires?

bboyd3301

February 24th, 2010
8:01 am

lets hope that it doesn’t come to the point that greg norton EVER has to come back! i would prefer jason heyward at 13 years old over greg norton. i don’t care that he is only 20, we have no reason to have greg norton on this team.

Chief Nock A Homa

February 24th, 2010
8:06 am

What a man crush…

Geez DOB, are you in love with the guy or what??? My kids are reading this stuff…

dpelfrey

February 24th, 2010
8:28 am

Yeah, seriously. It’s too bad Valentine’s day is gone, or you could have given him some flowers and a card.

We’re teasing you DOB. It was the “bulging biceps” comment that made it so obvious.

Dent

February 24th, 2010
8:51 am

Im the only real dent!

wes

February 24th, 2010
9:16 am

Welcome to the bigs Heyward!

stew

February 24th, 2010
9:43 am

He was in spring training last year. Did he grow so much in a year? Bat him third so he can put up numbers.

Old Guy

February 24th, 2010
9:56 am

Let’s go ahead and make him the hitting coach and let TP go to pasture.

McCann Fan

February 24th, 2010
10:15 am

It’s gonna be J-Hey and he’s gonna be the sh*t!!! I will be very disappointed if he earns the opening day job and doesn’t get it because of financial concerns two years away. All signs point to him being ready to come in and be a star right away, so let him.

Damn I can’t wait for April 5th

bubbaluvshisbraves

February 24th, 2010
10:28 am

FIRST TIME HERE GUYS. LET ME ASK IF BIG BOY REALLY SHOWS OUT IN SPRING TRAINING AND REALLY TEARS IT UP WILL THE BRAVES REALLY START HIM IN AT AAA BALL TO SAVE MONEY DOWN THE ROAD. TO ME THAT WOULD BE REALLY GREEDY OF THE BRAVES, AND COULD COST BOBBY A CHANCE AT POST SEASON, PLEASE REPLY TO THIS I REALLY DONT UNDERSTAND WHY!!!!! ALSO DOES CHIPPER MOVE OUT OF THE 3 HOLE THIS YEAR?

Braves Fan Since "80

February 24th, 2010
10:41 am

The last guy with this much Hype so quickly was Andruw who with age lost his speed and offensive tools…… If he can be a more impact player than andruw and Jeff and continue to hit he will be OK….. I would be happy with a Cliff Floyd like couple of years before he and McCann become the everyday face of the braves…..If our pitching comes back these guys can be the cornerstones to another world series but let’s get back to winning the division first!

sidslidkid

February 24th, 2010
11:21 am

bubbaluvshisbraves, first off use your inside voice. Secondly, if he “REALLY TEARS IT UP” then no, there is no way the Braves can afford to not have him in the lineup on opening day. If they feel like they can get equal or better numbers out of Diaz, Melky and Henske then they may wait until June to bring him up.

bubbaluvshisbraves

February 24th, 2010
12:22 pm

ugaaccountant

February 24th, 2010
1:12 pm

WHY ARE YOU SHOUTING?

[...] Braves prospect Jason Heyward is already doing some serious damage at spring training. Literally, says David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. According to the AJC, Heyward dented a Coke truck and smashed the sun roof of assistant general [...]

Clip file 2.24.10 — NYFSBlogs

February 24th, 2010
1:52 pm

[...] Just like Stephen Strasburg in Nats camp, outfielder Jason Heyward is wowing ’em at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex. The AJC’s David O’Brien reports [...]

[...] Braves prospect Jason Heyward is already doing some serious damage at spring training. Literally, says David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. According to the AJC, Heyward dented a Coke truck and smashed the sun roof of assistant general [...]

the king

February 24th, 2010
6:44 pm

he is THE GOLDEN CHILD…. the best is yet to come !!

Doc Holiday

February 24th, 2010
7:19 pm

Are championships won with the sound the bat makes? Cox you are a joke.

TampaBrave86

February 24th, 2010
8:30 pm

man heyward was killing the ball yesterday. One line drive he hit just foul into the stands and almost took a ladies head off. He attacks the ball so hard. In the batting cages today I mean I was 5 yards from him and he was tearin the cover off the ball. He doesn’t wait for the ball to get to him he goes and gets it which I love. I can watch him hit anyday!! Long Live Heyward!

Francoeur on Heyward « control+ATL+delete

February 24th, 2010
8:32 pm

[...] much of the same buildup associated with Francoeur is happening again, noting the Paul Bundy like tall tales surrounding J-Hey’s batting practice debut. The bottom line is that Heyward’s makeup and plate discipline at 20 is far beyond where [...]

Mike30326

February 25th, 2010
9:04 am

Paul Bundy? Is that Ted Bundy’s brother? Al’s cousin? I have heard of a Paul Bunyon, but not a Paul Bundy.

DidHeStealMyRaisons?

February 25th, 2010
10:04 am

Eh, I’m not going to get excited about him at least until mid June.

DidHeStealMyRaisons?

February 25th, 2010
10:07 am

btw…raindawg722 “chain mail”… that was awesome

[...] you have already heard that one? You have a what? A computer?  Oh and it has internet.  I see.  Very nice. Good for [...]

Hinske's Banana Republic Underwear

February 26th, 2010
2:17 pm

Have you seen Hinske’s tattoo? I have to live under it…check it out. As it says in this article, he must be yakuza.

http://deadspin.com/5480604/eric-hinske-some-kind-of-circus-freakshow-now

Kenny Powers

February 27th, 2010
9:57 am

It’ll be funny to look back at all of these articles about how Heyward is Jesus in a Braves uniform the first time he has a slump. “Fans” will want him run out of town just like they did Francoeur

Heywardisms « Sports Casualties

April 1st, 2010
8:56 am

[...] Jason smashed the roof of his luxury car with a towering BP shot in Spring ‘10, Braves assistant GM Bruce Manno [...]

Used pickup trucks

July 12th, 2010
2:26 am

Heyward really had a bad day but managed with these incidents. I can understand the situation of the assistant GM.

http://www.pickuptrucksinusa.com

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