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10/23/09 8:20 PM ET

Heyward nursing injured gluteus in AFL

Braves hopeful prized prospect can return to field

ATLANTA -- The Braves sent Jason Heyward to the Arizona Fall League to gain the experience that will benefit him as he attempts to fulfill the projections of making his Major League debut next year. But over the course of the past week, the highly-regarded outfielder has been sidelined with a strained gluteus muscle.

Heyward suffered the posterior leg injury last week and hasn't played since recording one at-bat for the Peoria Saguaros on Saturday. The Braves remain hopeful that Heyward is dealing with a minor injury and will be able to resume playing within the next couple of days.

Heyward, who is among the game's top prospects, hit .286 (4-for-14) with three doubles in the 14 at-bats before being sidelined.

Because Heyward has recorded just 173 at-bats above Class A, there has been reason to wonder whether the Braves would be willing to allow him to start the 2010 season in the Majors. But the Braves have continued to provide reason to believe that they are definitely open to this possibility.

After combining to hit .323 with 17 homers and a .923 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) with Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach, Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett this year, Heyward was named Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.