Heyward told he’ll be on Opening Day roster – updated

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA – The date is March 26, 2010 and it’s one to remember. J-Hey Kid made it to the majors.

Jason Heyward was called into manager Bobby Cox’s office about 8:45 a.m. on Friday morning in Braves camp and told he would be on the Opening Day roster.

“I said ‘I’m delighted to tell you that you’re on the team, Jason, simply because it makes us a better team,’” a beaming Cox relayed Friday morning from the Braves dugout.

Heyward will be the Braves starting right fielder on Opening Day. As chipper as Cox sounded, Heyward was just as cool.

“Not surprised, not relieved,” Heyward said when asked for his reaction, after batting practice. “It’s just says ‘Let’s go.’ I’ve got less than a week’s time to get ready for the season.”

At the moment he said that, Heyward had just finished off a plate of tuna salad and a bowl of fruit. He had not made any phone calls, not to his family or friends or agents. His closest friend on the team – Freddie Freeman – who lockers beside Heyward hadn’t even heard the news until coming into the Braves clubhouse after batting practice a little after 11 a.m.

Heyward said he would make his calls after the game.

It took some pressing, but Heyward eventually gave a little insight to the emotion he felt walking out of Cox’s office.

“It was cool,” Heyward said. “It was awesome. Never experienced it before. It won’t happen again. It was a great feeling.”

After only two full seasons in the minor leagues years, his talents and major-league readiness were undeniable. Entering Friday’s spring training game against Detroit, Heyward was hitting .366, with four doubles a home run and five RBIs. He’d recorded hits in 13 of the Braves’ first 16 games.

After ripping pitch after pitch this spring, obliging fans with late-night tweeting and autograph sessions, and handling constant media attention with calm and maturity, Heyward is headed for the big leagues.

It’s time to turn in No. 71, a typical spring training number that implies minor-league anonymity, for something lower. The Braves haven’t announced it yet, but it’ll be No. 22.

With a week to go before the Braves break camp and head for Atlanta, the Braves decided to put an end to the biggest question of spring training: would Heyward, arguably the top prospect in baseball, open the season on the team.

Cox and front office officials met Friday morning and decided to go ahead and tell Heyward and make the announcement.

“It’s time to tell him,” Cox said. “We’ve got a week to go, time to make the announcement.”

The decision had all but been made for them on the field. Heyward has been awing Braves camps for two years now with his towering home run shots in batting practice, shattering car windows beyond the outfield fence.

Heyward topped that with his towering home run off the Tigers in a game in Lakeland, but it’s been more than his power. It’s his patience at the plate – he’s drawn nine walks and has a .500 on-base percentage. He’s stolen three bases. And he’s made all the plays in the outfield, including a great running catch on Thursday against the Pirates.

“I would have had to have been blind not to see what he showed,” Cox said. “…He does everything good, runs above average, throws above average, his arm is above-average accuracy, he runs the bases way above average, he catches everything in right field. He’s not just a swinger. He’ll take a walk. For (age) 20, I’m saying a lot, OK?”

Heyward was hitting sixth in the Braves order for Friday’s game. That’s probably about where Cox will bat him as the season starts. Now that he’s arrived, the Braves don’t want to put anymore pressure on Heyward than necessary.

“We want to keep our expectations, with common sense,” Cox said. “Everybody is going to think he’s going to hit 40 home runs, hit .330 and drive in 150 runs.”

Cox wants Heyward to get comfortable, not that he’s anything but already. Cox said Heyward’s reaction Friday was calm, mature.

“I think his reaction would have been the same if I had told him you’re going to AAA,” Cox said. “He’s that far ahead of the game with maturity. He’s a ballplayer. He wants to play.”

163 comments Add your comment

Lunatic Fringe

March 26th, 2010
10:57 am

Lunatic Fringe

March 26th, 2010
10:58 am

But this has been a no-brainer since camp started

VP

March 26th, 2010
11:05 am

Good job by the Braves for putting the team first and not the finances. I got to get tickets for some games during the opening couple of weeks.

NickZ

March 26th, 2010
11:06 am

Good move…he deserves it even if it makes more sense financially to send him down to AAA for a few weeks.

The Philadelphia Phillies

March 26th, 2010
11:07 am

MSG

March 26th, 2010
11:07 am

Great now it is time for some baseball go Braves

Zach

March 26th, 2010
11:07 am

Diaz the other starter in left?

Howard

March 26th, 2010
11:07 am

Maybe Cox wants to go out his last year with the best team possible…he finally got it right. I saw Hayward down here in Fla. against the Mets and let me tell you…what a specimen! He looked like Darryl Strawberry (minus the negative baggage…) but only bigger. He has a presence at the plate that if I was in the field, I would pray: Don’t hit it at me!!

toga party

March 26th, 2010
11:07 am

Nice piece Carroll. Any word on whether they will actually add him to the roster today, now that Redmond’s spot is cleared?

Doc

March 26th, 2010
11:08 am

We’ll regret this in a few years when it costs us an extra year of affordable salary. All because we wouldn’t wait 2 weeks.

Chris

March 26th, 2010
11:08 am

Now lets hope Shafer can heal up and get back to where he was before he hurt his hand.

John

March 26th, 2010
11:08 am

They better start madking those jerseys. I would imagine they will be a hot commodity on opening day. I have always been excited by the Braves, but it is great to have a player that truly grabs everyone’s attention.

Realist

March 26th, 2010
11:09 am

His major league readiness is not “undeniable.” So far, he has proven he can hit .300 in the first few weeks of spring training (against some questionable pitchers) and he can mash batting practice home runs. For that, Cox is already carving his HOF bust, and I think DOB is writing his acceptance speech. I know we all believe this kid can be good, but the whole Jordan Schafer experience has me tempering my enthusiasm a little bit. If this kid makes it through the season without being sent back to AAA, I think it’ll be a success. He’s not going to Pujols the entire league as a rookie just because Bobby Dews in his senility calls him the greatest player of all time.

gammons is a peter

March 26th, 2010
11:10 am

NL EAST

Phil
Atl (wild card)
Wash
Ny Mets
Mia

THWTCUBS!

how2fish

March 26th, 2010
11:10 am

Great to see him starting the season with the team…best of luck Mr.Heyward !!

Samuel Stiles

March 26th, 2010
11:11 am

Wicked awesome.
Let the games begin!
I’m excited about this team.

how2fish

March 26th, 2010
11:13 am

Realist lets see you can’t get behind this kid because another kid didn’t work out the way you thought he should…I mean Dude WTF? On what planet does him going to minors make sense? He either can play in the bigs or he can’t we will see soon.Hanging around AAA buys what? We know he can play AAA….

Heyward Fan & Wren Hater

March 26th, 2010
11:13 am

Congratulations, Young Jason! Go, Braves!

Stay away from the prostitutes.

And the golddiggers.

And Buckhead.

And “The Real Housewives of The ATL.”

And Hooters. (Just ask Chipper.)

Supes

March 26th, 2010
11:15 am

Just wanna say that these 2 comments from Bobby Cox should end once and for all comparisons to Jeff F.

********************************************************************8

He’s not just a swinger. He’ll take a walk. For (age) 20, I’m saying a lot, OK?”

“I think his reaction would have been the same if I had told him you’re going to AAA,” Cox said. “He’s that far ahead of the game with maturity. He’s a ballplayer. He wants to play.”

**********************************************************************

Jeff is a hacker, and was a mental midget in ATL, acted like a spoiled brat when he was sent down and then according to him “didn’t even feel like playing the 2nd half of the season”.

So for the love of God stop with the comparisons you TROLLS, you know who you are…Philly and Muts fans.

heywards heroes

March 26th, 2010
11:16 am

I think Heyward is going to be the next “Beast of the NL East”

IDK Y

March 26th, 2010
11:18 am

Being that he’s from McDonough, I think he knows about the traps of the city of Atlanta. Can’t wait to pick up the Heyward Braves jersey!!! Hopefully he wears number 48 (my favorite)! LoL

Just Pat

March 26th, 2010
11:20 am

Talk about pressure being off…..both for him AND the bloggers on here. Now….what will everyone talk about? :-)

Justin

March 26th, 2010
11:23 am

Glad to see this decision made. I understand wanting the extra time before arbitration, but having him that first month could mean a few more wins as well that could make the difference late in the year and turn Bobby’s last year into something really special.

Tale of Woe

March 26th, 2010
11:23 am

I am excited he made the club. It is where he should be. However, everyone does need to remember that rarely does a rookie make a huge impact. Pujols is the exception, not the rule. Two or three years from now Heyward is going to put up huge numbers. I am just concerned that people think this is going to make a huge difference with this club. I expect .270avg 15hr 65RBI’s. That won’t get it done for the Braves.

WK

March 26th, 2010
11:24 am

Congrats to Jason and his family……a dream come true.

sodak brave

March 26th, 2010
11:28 am

Is this now the main blog?

VP

March 26th, 2010
11:29 am

>>>>>but the whole Jordan Schafer experience has me tempering my enthusiasm a little bit.

Schafer had a broken hand from opening weekend. What did you expect from him?

[...] The Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting that Jason Heyward will be on the Braves’ opening da…. [...]

Willis

March 26th, 2010
11:31 am

THAT’S what I’m talkin ’bout!

RHR

March 26th, 2010
11:31 am

Now….what will everyone talk about?

Where he’ll bat in the lineup. Duh.

leland

March 26th, 2010
11:34 am

What news! The twenty-year-old rookie phenom, the J-Hey Kid, made the team. Not only that, the twenty-year-old rookie phenom, the J-Hey Kid, will play on opening day. I hope the twenty-year-old rookie phenom, the J-Hey Kid, will have his parents there to see him, the twenty-year-old rookie phenom, the J-Hey Kid, play. What a day for the twenty-year-old rookie phenom, the J-Hey Kid!

Zach B.

March 26th, 2010
11:35 am

We are all witnesses……

Thomas

March 26th, 2010
11:35 am

The Braves are making the right decisions so far. We might see the playoffs this year.

Buzz

March 26th, 2010
11:37 am

Clone him for LF, please.

RHR

March 26th, 2010
11:40 am

I expected this but I’m still smiling my head off.

Brownie

March 26th, 2010
11:40 am

I’m sure during the discussion between Cox/coaches and Wren/management, the idea of sending him to AAA was pushed, and in reality it does make sense because of the leverage it provides the Braves down the road financially. However, this guy is so far ahead of other players at this stage, he would not have gained anything in AAA. And the uproar from fans would have been LOUD. Better to put him in the lineup and sell some more tickets.

So Doc, the bottom line is if he turns out to be as good as expected, the Braves will never wait until the arbitration/free agent deadlines anyway. They’ll sign him to big money early, just like with McCann. So the whole discussion has been a moot point.

And for all of you (e.g. Realist) who want to point to Jordan S as a prime example of bringing a kid up to quickly, I believe if he hadn’t broken his wrist in the the first week, he would have gotten some ROY votes. Too much talent there…he’ll heal up and be back sometime this year. When will likely depend on how Melky does and whether Nate remembers how to hit.

As far as this roster goes, it always depends on health and whether players play to their potential, but I like the lineup: Melky/Nate, Prado, Chipper, Glaus, Mac, Heyward, Escobar, Diaz… potentially some strong offense here.

Senator Blutarski

March 26th, 2010
11:41 am

sure–a young rookie might struggle–but you can be rookie of the year and a league MVP at the same time–like Fred Lynn and Ichiro Suzuki…

MW

March 26th, 2010
11:45 am

We need to find a better nickname than the “J-Hey Kid.” The floor is now open for nominations!

OCHOLOCOBRAVOS

March 26th, 2010
11:52 am

I REALLLLY wanna know what # the kid’s gonna take.. All the good ones are already locked up (11, 23, 24, 27)… I’m gonna guess he takes #17

Yankee

March 26th, 2010
11:54 am

remember the yankees

Larry

March 26th, 2010
11:57 am

National league east….
Atl
Phil (wild card)
Fla
Mets
Wash

No more #71...

March 26th, 2010
11:57 am

Wonder what number he’ll wear?

Lunatic Fringe

March 26th, 2010
12:00 pm

They need to decide on a # soon—losing money on jersey sales! I imagine there will be a line trying to buy them on opening day.

T.C

March 26th, 2010
12:03 pm

Tale of woe maybe just this time he will beat the odds of he’s just a rookie.maybe he will go above and beyond those averages you posted.I will say,.302avg 21hr 88RBI’S.i Personally think his calmness at the plate taking walks will keep his average above .280.

AJ

March 26th, 2010
12:03 pm

Again, if you get rookie production a la McCann, great. Let him get used to the pro game and he will be fine. The bigger point is this: He needs to contribute to the team’s success, not carry the team. If Prado, Chipper, McCann, Escobar don’t do most of the heavy lifting, it may be a difficult year.

Brian Asselstine

March 26th, 2010
12:04 pm

Anyone know what number he will wear??

dogsbrekky

March 26th, 2010
12:04 pm

Is nos 5 available ?

Pepe Frias

March 26th, 2010
12:05 pm

What’s his number going to be?

Terry Harper

March 26th, 2010
12:05 pm

Any word on his number?

Matt Sinatro

March 26th, 2010
12:06 pm

Wonder what number he’ll wear?

Luis Gomez

March 26th, 2010
12:07 pm

Can ya’ll let me know what his number will be?

Larvell Blanks

March 26th, 2010
12:07 pm

Do we know what number he will wear?

Jerry Royster

March 26th, 2010
12:08 pm

Has his number been announced yet?

sportsmandh

March 26th, 2010
12:08 pm

Well I will admit I was wrong. I had predicted Heyward would start in AAA regardless and be called up in May like Hanson was last year. So congratulations Jason, you do deserve it.

I saw Heyward play last year here in Huntsville, AL and it was obvious he was a man among boys. The first thing that jumped out at me was his patience at the plate. He also hustled in the field all night. So all the comments the coaches and other players have been making about him are not something new, it is a part of his game that he’s the complete player.

The skeptics on the blog keep popping up about Wren didn’t do this, didn’t do that, blah blah blah. Wren has done a very good job. This is a very strong team and they’re gonna have a very good season. Beat the Phillies I don’t know, but the skeptics are way off.

Terry Foster

March 26th, 2010
12:09 pm

I’ll take a number 3. Super Sized please

braves fan

March 26th, 2010
12:09 pm

he will wear 17

Rob1855

March 26th, 2010
12:09 pm

This just in: Thanks solely to the efforts of DOB, the Drive-By Truckers’ new album The Big To-Do debuted at #22, the band’s highest debut ever, on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart, #1 on the Indie Chart, #6 Rock Chart and #9 on the Digital Chart. We now return you to your regularly scheduled Heyward worship.

Hooter Girl

March 26th, 2010
12:09 pm

Hey, what’s wrong with coming to Hooter’s? We have the best hot wings in town. Come on down Jason and we will take real good care of you!

BigTimeTECHFan

March 26th, 2010
12:09 pm

Who is Hayward – is he better then the Freeman kid at 1st base. just being a little sarc so I could start the next hype meter going.

Braves youth is awesome:
Hayward OF
Prado 2nd
Escobar SS
McCann C – still kind’of young
Jurrjens P
Hanson P

This may not be the year yet, but if they stay together 2011 will be sweet.

Then Freeman added to the mix, wow

Len Barker

March 26th, 2010
12:10 pm

I can’t wait to find out what number he’ll wear.

chixluvthebraves2

March 26th, 2010
12:10 pm

im not sure if anyone has asked this or not, but what number will he wear??
Seriously, i think its awesome he made the team and a smart move to go ahead and tell him. Gives him time to get relaxed with not having to impress and start focusing on the long season ahead. Besides, if they sent him to AAA i really thing Chipper would have stormed Wren’s office like it was the Bastille.

Rufino Linarias

March 26th, 2010
12:12 pm

Any word on that number, maing?

Rafael Ramirez

March 26th, 2010
12:15 pm

Que es su numero?

BootObummer14

March 26th, 2010
12:16 pm

Adrian

March 26th, 2010
12:16 pm

Thanks goodness they didn’t pull a Hanson this year! Go Bravos!

JTH

March 26th, 2010
12:17 pm

Congrats to Jason Heyward. Now live up to hype kid, spring training pitches arent as tough as the regular season ones.

Pascual Perez

March 26th, 2010
12:17 pm

Will he be wearing #285?

sportsmandh

March 26th, 2010
12:18 pm

I know that things can go wrong for any team. Injuries, sophmore slumps, chemistry problems, whatever. But I wonder if any of the blog skeptics have paid attention to what the players have been saying. It is obvious Cox and McDowell are excited about this team. It is obvious Chipper is very confident in the team. It is obvious McCann and Hudson are confident. Diaz and Moylan say it’s the most confident Braves team they’ve seen coming into a season.

Do the skeptics think the players don’t know? It’s one thing for Wren to say we have a good team, that’s his job. But if the players know they are going to be good, then that is going to show and mean something.

I have been wondering if Carol or DOB have noticed a difference in the atmosphere and attitude of the team. It really does seem from everything I’ve seen and read that the outlook within the team is different for the season. Some of it may have to do with it being Cox’s last year, but I think it’s mainly just that they know they have a real chance to make a serious run.

ben

March 26th, 2010
12:20 pm

17 is Hubbard’s nummber 18 maybe

Herschel Talker

March 26th, 2010
12:21 pm

It’s irrelevant. Booby the moron will find a way to f it up.

Past Ghost

March 26th, 2010
12:23 pm

Please do not become the next Brad Kommiski, or Jeff Francouer – P L E A S E………………..

tp

March 26th, 2010
12:24 pm

A stroke of PR genius!

Why? Well, what better way to push the “Gwinnett Brave Caught in Hooker Sting” story to the bottom of the news scrap heap than to make the Heyward announcement. I don’t fault the Braves one bit for doing it!

Jack G.

March 26th, 2010
12:26 pm

What number, what number. Who the hell cares, and what difference does it make.

Chipper's Bunions

March 26th, 2010
12:27 pm

I’m glad the kid made it….takes the pressure off us. Everybody is going to obsess about him and not Chipper. Thank goodness.
I agree that he’ll go with the number Andy Messersmith made famous. WTCG’s own Channel 17!!

escoBEAST

March 26th, 2010
12:28 pm

Why is everyone happy about this? Oh that’s right, everyone was happy about the Texiara trade too when that went down. U guys and this organization have no foresight in this decision. I’m very disappointed. I’m going to be laughing so hard when he starts the season struggling.

Just Pat

March 26th, 2010
12:29 pm

17 is Glenn Hubbard’s number and has been for years. For some reason, I doubt this kid would even ask him to give it up.

Eddie in bama

March 26th, 2010
12:30 pm

Think about this, the fiscal restraints are from ownership not front office. The roster additions and contracts are proof of this. Wren and company are throwing caution and fiscal responsibility(as far as what they can) to the wind. Want to win for Bobby, themselves, and the fans. This could be a dogfight with the Phils, just like the down to the wire battles w/ dodgers and giants of early nineties. If so these first 2 weeks could and will be crucial. Come on lets get on board and win,win,win.

Just Pat

March 26th, 2010
12:31 pm

So what if he does start the season struggling? It happens to a lot of players….old and new. I doubt very seriously that true fans will bust him over it.

Roll Tider

March 26th, 2010
12:33 pm

Jason Heyward once accidentally took a Viagra instead of a Tylenol. He was inadvertently poking people in the chest the rest of the afternoon.

Mike Jay

March 26th, 2010
12:34 pm

Hooter’s wings are way over rated. But the Breast, dear lord the breast…..

tnt

March 26th, 2010
12:34 pm

ill say this for the very last time……….Heyward has been FREED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mike Jay

March 26th, 2010
12:35 pm

Heyward once hit a ball in spring traing that landed in parking lot next to Wren’s car, hoped in and drove itself to Cuba. They called it a home run.

John Rocker

March 26th, 2010
12:36 pm

WHAT MOTHER#$%@&! NUMBER WILL HE WEAR!!!

The Goche

March 26th, 2010
12:38 pm

How awesome would it be if he just kept 71. I think that would be hilarious and awesome.

“Jason Heyward, making the 70’s cool.”

bkk

March 26th, 2010
12:38 pm

Read the story. It will be No. 22.

Kenshin Kawakami

March 26th, 2010
12:38 pm

What number Jason San wearing?

jeffrey d

March 26th, 2010
12:39 pm

I’m going to be laughing so hard when he starts the season struggling

Really? That’s going to make you laugh so hard? Things that are funny:
-RHR’s nicknames
-Mitch Hedberg
-Heywardisms
-Chipper scaring Bob Wickman

Things that are not funny:
-Heyward struggling

jeffrey d

March 26th, 2010
12:39 pm

Hey, thanks TNT. A bajillion exclamation points were really necessary.

escoBEAST

March 26th, 2010
12:42 pm

No one is discounting that these first two weeks aren’t crucial. The real question is how big of difference will we have between heyward and melky for 2 weeks. 1 extra win seems fair. So that’s telling me you’ll take 1 extra win over a year in his prime? If it comes to one game that they are not in the playoff they will have a many other reasons why they are not in…

ben

March 26th, 2010
12:42 pm

22! @mikeferrin175 and @justinwjohnson guessed it right. @Jasonheyward will wear #22!
from braves twitter page

Gustopher

March 26th, 2010
12:43 pm

chuckw/deadjournalist

March 26th, 2010
12:44 pm

it’s official. heyward will wear #22

chuckw/deadjournalist

March 26th, 2010
12:45 pm

and also:
Thx for playing! @JRod3342 , @Steviebreech, @_DeadJournalist also guessed it right!

from braves twitter

Jeff Francoeur

March 26th, 2010
12:46 pm

I am the better right fielder..everyone knows that. That is why I am in NEW YORK playing for a higher salary!!

JTH

March 26th, 2010
12:48 pm

Just taking a wild guess but I’d say #22.

Tale of Woe

March 26th, 2010
12:48 pm

Carroll just added the number to the blog. Smooth in doing that.

I know he is patient at the plate, but rookies normally press and don’t take as many walks. Last year our RF’s hit 16 hrs with 84 RBI. Can Heyward exceed that? Probably not….If he can produce that much we might be happy and think he is the second coming of Hank Aaron. Our RF’s hit .287 last year – Can Heyward produce a line of .287 16hr 84RBI? I doubt it…That would be a real good rookie season. I see issues this year…

AJ

March 26th, 2010
12:48 pm

Remember, this is a team game. All systems must pull together SP, RP, Closer, defense, etc… otherwise, Heyward could have MVP numbers and it won’t matter. I really hope he can distance himself from the pressure the fans are going to put on him.

McDonough Nana

March 26th, 2010
12:50 pm

Glad Henry County has a great ball player hit the big league and Coach Chuck Campbell had nothing to do with it!

Mike Jay

March 26th, 2010
12:51 pm

EcoBeastter,

What makes you think The Baraves won’t ink him long term well before any potential arbitration? The McCann deal is how this will go down, to think otherwise is silly. This kid will be the face of the frachise for years to come and will be paid accordingly. Chipper got what he wanted, so did Mccann, this won’t be different.

AJ

March 26th, 2010
12:53 pm

Offensively I am not sure if he will hit last year’s RF production, if those numbers are correct. He is there because the Braves feel he is better now than any other player or platoon they could put out there.

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