The slumping Braves want badly to get Jason Heyward back atop their lineup and took unusual measures Wednesday to enable him to take the next step in his return from a broken jaw.

The Braves had minor league pitcher Mark Lamm fly to Washington from his home in Nashville just to throw about 30 pitches of batting practice to Heyward the first time he hit against an actual pitcher since having his jaw broken by a 90-mph fastball from Mets left-hander Jonathon Niese on Aug. 21.

“Good to get that going good to see something coming from a (pitcher’s) arm and off a mound” said Heyward who began taking batting practice Friday but until Wednesday had only faced coaches throwing 50-55 mph from behind a screen on flat ground in front of the mound.

The Braves haven’t mapped out a specific plan or timetable for his return to major league games and Heyward said his main thing is that he’d like to play at least some regular-season games before the playoffs begin. He said he still needs to get his legs and reactions closer to game speed and on Wednesday he also ramped up his running and pursuit of fly balls hit during Braves batting practice at Nationals Park.

Team officials planned to discuss options to get more real batting-practice pitching for Heyward either from one of the extra pitchers with the team on its expanded September roster or by bringing in another minor leaguer. Braves general manager planned to talk to manager Fredi Gonzalez hitting coach Greg Walker and Heyward before Wednesday night’s game against the Nationals.

“Kind of see where we are and still continue to look at what the progression should be or can be” Wren said. “It’s a very fluid situation because you’re trying to do what’s best for him and what’s best to get him ready and also being mindful of his health and how he feels.

“I’ve heard it went very well today. We’ll see what we do next.”
Regarding a possible return date for Heyward Wren reiterated that there wasn’t one yet.

“I think he wants to get back as soon as he can and I think we want to get him back as soon as we can” he said. “The want and the need is on both sides. Just have to wait until it kind of plays out its course.”