5/27/2013 7:58 P.M. ET
B.J. Upton looks for better footing at plate
By Evan Peaslee / MLB.com
TORONTO - B.J. Upton sat for the second time in three games as he continues to tinker with his struggling swing.
The 28-year-old outfielder, who signed a five-year, $75 million contract with the Braves in the offseason, has struggled in his first season in Atlanta. Upton was hitting .148 with a .236 on-base percentage entering Monday, and had just four hits in his last 11 games. In 44 games in 2013, he has gone hitless in 27 of them.
"He may be the hardest-working guy I've been around," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "It's hard to tinker with a swing, or make adjustments, and put him in the game and try to produce. But for me, great attitude, keeps working hard. You pull for those guys."
On Monday, Upton continued to work on the problem with hitting coach Greg Walker and assistant hitting coach Scott Fletcher. The trio were pouring over video in hopes of finding a solution.
What Upton and the Braves staff have been working on mainly is getting his foot down earlier to attack the fastball. The outfielder has found himself late on fastballs recently.
"That was the big thing," Gonzalez said. "You get your foot down on time, get ready to hit, get ready to attack, clears up a lot of the other stuff."
The former Rays second-round Draft pick in 2002 has never been known for his batting average, sporting a career .251 mark, but even his on-base percentage this season sits nearly 100 points below his career norms.
The solution, however, is not easy to implement once the season is underway.
"It's tough during the season to make a lot of big changes," Gonzalez said. "But the adjustments they're talking about aren't big swing changes, they're not big mechanical changes, it's just getting your foot down on time.
"It's hard to in the middle of the Major League season and start trying to make swing adjustments. But I think you can make small adjustments."
Beachy, Walden continue road to return
TORONTO -- Both Jordan Walden and Brandon Beachy have found themselves new Minor League homes for the time being.
Beachy, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery last June, will start for Class A Rome on Wednesday.
The club wanted the 26-year-old righty to stay closer to home, as he continues to stretch out his arm in preparation for his return.
Walden pitched a scoreless seventh inning with one strikeout for Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday against Syracuse.
"He's scheduled to throw an inning," manager Fredi Gonzalez said before Monday's game against the Blue Jays. "He'll check back us with on whether he needs another outing, or whatever he feels."
Walden, who's been on the disabled list since May 12, was eligible to come off the disabled list Monday and his return seems imminent.
Heyward gets night off against Blue Jays
TORONTO -- Jason Heyward did not start Monday night in Toronto for the first time since coming back May 17 from his appendectomy in April.
"It's simple," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He's played every single inning of every single game since he's been back."
The Braves played their fourth in a stretch of 20 consecutive games on Monday against the Blue Jays.
"Every chance we can, give somebody a breather," Gonzalez said.
Since returning from his injury, Heyward has played in nine straight games, and has been able to find his way on base more consistently, even if the hits aren't there. The 23-year-old has a .381 on-base percentage since returning.
"He's looked really really good," Gonzalez said.
Resting Heyward gave the Braves a chance to get Reed Johnson into a game against lefty Mark Buehrle. Reed had only seen one at-bat since Heyward's return.
Johnson is batting .346 vs. lefties, compared to .250 against right-handers. He was 13-for-37 entering Monday with four doubles in his career against the Blue Jays starter.
Evan Peaslee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.