7/28/2014 3:40 P.M. ET
Heyward day to day with lower back soreness
By Joe Morgan / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Jason Heyward exited Monday afternoon's finale vs. the Padres due to lower back soreness.
Heyward, listed as day to day after undergoing treatment following his departure, will wait to see how his back responds from Atlanta's flight to Los Angeles before deciding if he can play on Tuesday.
"Being smart, after this flight, I'm going to have to absolutely see how it feels tomorrow," Heyward said. "If we've figured out what the spot is and we work it well enough, I'm not counting [a return on Tuesday] out. But being smart, we're just going to see what happens. Nothing major."
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez added: "He came in just before his first at-bat and he goes, 'Skip, my back's tightening up on me a little bit.' Hopefully, tomorrow he wakes up and he feels better. I know that the trainers have been working on him since that third inning. Hopefully, we get him back on the field here in the next couple of days."
Ryan Doumit took Heyward's spot in right field prior to the top of the fourth one day after starting in place of Heyward on Sunday. Heyward played three innings in the field and grounded out to first base in his only at-bat. His early exit snapped a streak of reaching base in 16 consecutive games.
"I was going after a foul ball Thursday night, and it kind of grabbed me," Heyward said. "I've been winging it since then. I was hoping yesterday would kind of free me up some, but it didn't. I was hoping it loosen after I got out there and got going, but it didn't."
Fredi leaning on bench in stretch without off-days
ATLANTA -- As the Braves played the 11th of 17 consecutive days out of the All-Star break on Monday, manager Fredi Gonzalez started Jordan Schafer and Phil Gosselin as part of an effort over the next few days to play the reserves and rest the regulars.
"After the All-Star break, we have 17 straight," Gonzalez said. "I'm going to pick this time to play the bench a little bit."
Gonzalez started Gerald Laird and Ryan Doumit on Sunday in place of Evan Gattis and Jason Heyward. Gattis was off Sunday as part of Atlanta's plan to sit him down every three games.
By resting B.J. Upton and Tommy La Stella on Monday -- similar to sitting Andrelton Simmons on Thursday and Heyward on Sunday -- Gonzalez is able to space out the off-days.
Gosselin earned his first start of the season after reaching on an error and lining out in his first two pinch-hit opportunities over the weekend. The infielder aims to build on the .344 batting average he posted in 407 plate appearances with Triple-A Gwinnett this season.
"I figured I might be in there just because it's a day game after a night game, that kind of thing, so I just came here prepared to start," Gosselin said. "I want to get out there and get a few at-bats and help the team any way I can."
Atlanta hopes Gosselin's hot bat will jolt a bench that has struggled to produce this season. Braves pinch-hitters ranked 25th in the Majors with a .165 batting average (19-for-115), and 26th with a .236 on-base percentage entering Monday.
"There's no question," Gonzalez answered when asked if some extra at-bats in the next few days could help the slumping bench. "Play the bench, get them some at-bats."
Conrad fondly recalls time spent with Braves
ATLANTA -- One of Brooks Conrad's most memorable days as a Brave was a sunny Thursday afternoon at Turner Field on May 20, 2010, when he became only the second pinch-hitter to hit a walk-off grand slam to overcome a three-run deficit in a 10-9 win against the Reds.
Conrad's slam capped a seven-run rally in the bottom of the ninth for the largest comeback in franchise history.
"That was my first career win," Braves closer Craig Kimbrel said. "It was cool. Came in and pitched in a blowout and ended up winning."
But Conrad was no one-hit wonder with the Braves, as he served as a valuable bench bat for parts of three seasons. He was key in the final playoff run under manager Bobby Cox, hitting .288 (19-for-66) with a .356 on-base percentage in the final 34 games of 2010.
"Very special," Conrad said of his years with the Braves. "That was kind of really my first time up in the big leagues. I got my first opportunity with Atlanta, so I've had some really good times here, and I definitely miss it, but getting back here with another team is a lot of fun."
Conrad was especially happy to return to Atlanta on a weekend in which Cox, his manager for more than half of his Major League career, was one of six inductees into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
"Getting to play for him was the opportunity of a lifetime," Conrad said. "He truly, genuinely cared about each and every one of his players. You don't really see that a whole lot."
After playing in 13 games for the Padres, Conrad was optioned to Triple-A El Paso on Monday to make room on the roster for Jedd Gyorko.
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.