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BRAVES NOTEBOOK: Braves hoping Heyward’s hamstring strain isn’t serious; Gattis begins rehab assignment

Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward (22) is attended to by third base coach Brian Snitker (51) and manager Fredi Gonzalez after an injury in the second inning against the Reds on Thursday.

Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward (22) is attended to by third base coach Brian Snitker (51) and manager Fredi Gonzalez after an injury in the second inning against the Reds on Thursday.

ATLANTA — Braves right fielder Jason Heyward had to leave Thursday night's game after he strained his right hamstring running the bases, but he said afterward he thinks he avoided a serious injury.

“I felt something sore first, got a little tight, no pops, no pulls, tears, nothing of that (nature),” Heyward said. “It just got painful.”

Heyward was re-evaluated Friday but thinks he should be able to avoid a DL stint.

“Right now I don't think it'll be DL,” Heyward said. “I think the fact that nothing is torn, nothing was pulled, I think I'll be OK to just have some rest and get it worked out.”

Heyward was advancing from first to third on an infield hit by Justin Upton in the second inning and said he felt it a couple of steps before he slid into third base. He lay on the ground in pain for a few minutes but was able to get up and walk off the field on his own.

“I was looking at the play, and as soon as I got my head turned back around, a step and a half it was sore,” Heyward said. “That's when it happened right before I slid. So I didn't do anything running or nothing weird. I didn't land wrong or anything like that. It just happened.”

Heyward was replaced by Reed Johnson, who stayed in the game in right field.

The Braves are thin in the outfield already with Jordan Schafer on the disabled list with a badly bruised right ankle. He isn't eligible to come off until after the All-Star break. Rookie Joey Terdoslavich hasn't played in the outfield since he was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett a week ago.

“Hopefully it doesn't manifest itself into something worse than it is right now,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Heyward's injury. “Those things you just never know how they're going to get overnight, so we'll evaluate him in the afternoon when he comes in.”

GATTIS BEGINS REHAB: After taking batting practice without issue for the second consecutive day, Evan Gattis showed the Braves on Thursday that he’s ready for a minor league rehabilitation assignment.

Gattis began an injury assignment Friday with Triple-A Gwinnett and will play the first of at least three minor league games, and at most six, before the Braves hope to activate him with the start of the second half July 19 against the White Sox.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez would love to have the dynamic rookie catcher and bench player available for the DH role in that three-game series in Chicago. Gattis leads the majors with four pinch-hit home runs, despite missing the past three weeks.

Gattis started his assignment Friday with Gwinnett in Durham as a DH. Gonzalez said Gattis could decide he’s ready to go after three games with Gwinnett and take the All-Star break off. If he needs more at-bats, both Braves Single-A affiliates, Rome and Lynchburg, have games scheduled early next week while the higher levels are off for All-Star games.

Gattis has been on the disabled list since June 18 with a strained right oblique muscle.

“Another good day,” Gattis said after taking batting practice Thursday afternoon. “No pain. It went good. It’s been the same for the last little while. And I wasn’t sore yesterday or waking up this morning, so it’s good.”

Beachy update: Brandon Beachy said his elbow responded well to his Tuesday night outing with Gwinnett, as he resumed his minor league rehabilitation assignment. He was set to throw a bullpen session Thursday or Friday and then head back out for his second rehab start, likely Sunday with Triple-A Gwinnett at Durham.

“Felt good, bounced back pretty well,” Beachy said Thursday.

Beachy was on the cusp of returning from Tommy John surgery when he had a setback with elbow inflammation, shutting down after a June 13 outing for Gwinnett. But since he resumed his throwing program, he hasn’t had any issues.

Now it’s a matter of building back up. Beachy threw three innings Tuesday, allowing two runs, in a 4-3 loss to Norfolk.