05/09/10 1:38 PM ET
Braves encouraged by Heyward's progress
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
Heyward has been limited to pinch-hit duties since a sore right groin forced him to make a second-inning exit from Wednesday's game in Washington. The Braves have been encouraged with the steady progress he has made, and there no longer seems to be any concern about the possibility of having to place him on the disabled list.
"It's getting stronger every day," Heyward said. "I have more strength and I don't get fatigued as quickly. Any soreness is from working out and working the muscle."
Heyward came off the bench on Thursday night to deliver a game-tying, eighth-inning single. But entering Sunday, his only action during this weekend's series in Philadelphia came Saturday, when he grounded out in a pinch-hit appearance in the eighth inning.
Since incurring this ailment, Heyward has not tested the muscle by running or participating in any pregame on-field activities. But after going through some other exercises in the clubhouse, he has still felt some lingering discomfort.
Despite being out of the lineup for four straight games, Heyward entered Sunday with 10 more RBIs than any other Braves player.
Chipper sits out finale with injured groin
PHILADELPHIA -- Chipper Jones arrived at Citizens Bank Park with the hope of playing in Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Phillies. But after taking some swings in the indoor batting cages, the veteran Braves third baseman determined he needed at least one day of rest.
Jones, who tweaked his left groin while legging out a sixth-inning infield single, said that he hopes to be back in the lineup on Monday night, when the Braves begin a three-game series in Milwaukee. This marks the fifth time this year that an injury has prevented the veteran from being in the starting lineup.
"He swung earlier and it hurt," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "It's a good day for [Brooks] Conrad. He hasn't started a game all year."
With Jones unavailable to attempt to prolong his dominance against Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, Cox opted to give the switch-hitting Conrad his first start of the season at third base.
Conrad, who entered Sunday with two hits in the 12 pinch-hit at-bats he has recorded this season, found himself as part of an interesting looking lineup. With Jones and Jason Heyward both sidelined with groin ailments, Cox chose to fill the third spot in his batting order with Melky Cabrera, who ended an 0-for-14 skid with an RBI single during Saturday's decisive three-run sixth inning.
Glaus beginning to heat up at the plate
PHILADELPHIA -- The Braves are still waiting for Troy Glaus to provide the power that they projected when they signed him in December. But they have at least been encouraged that he is showing much more consistency at the plate than he did during the season's first couple of weeks.
Entering Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Phillies, Glaus had hit .317 over the previous 11 games and in the process improved his batting average from .186 to .240. But just one of the 13 hits he has recorded during that span went for extra bases.
Still, Braves manager Bobby Cox has been encouraged by the fact that Glaus has collected seven RBIs through his first seven games in May. The former All-Star delivered a total of nine RBIs in April.
"He would have had a couple more [in April] if we had run the bases right, and then there was the home run they took away from him," Cox said.
Cox was referring to Yunel Escobar's inexplicable decision not to tag on the long fly ball Glaus delivered against the Mets on April 24. Two days earlier, the Braves first baseman's long drive off Roy Halladay landed in the glove of a leaping Shane Victorino at the top of the center-field wall.
Glaus has indeed been victimized by some bad luck during his first season in Atlanta. One of the most memorable instances occurred on April 17, when Dexter Fowler denied him a seventh-inning double with a diving catch that gave Ubaldo Jimenez a chance to complete his no-hitter.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.