Heyward does real damage in batting practice

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Heyward sliding.JPGBraves outfielder Jason Heyward was named Baseball America’s top prospect this morning, edging out 2009 No. 1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg.  This afternoon, Heyward proved why. 

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Dave O’Brien, the 20-year-old went to town in batting practice today, denting a Coca-Cola truck and smashing a team executive’s sunroff with measuring-tape shots over the outfield wall at Champion Stadium. 

“He’s strong as an ox,” hitting coach Terry Pendleton said after the workout. 
“Every ball was just scalded,” added manager Bobby Cox.

A 6-foot-5, 245-pound McDonough, Georgia native, Heyward batted .323/.408/.555 with 17 homers, 46 total extra-base hits and 11
steals in 99 games between high Single-A and
Double-A last season.  He finished the year at Triple-A with a .364/.462/.364 batting line in 13 plate appearances.  It’s safe to say the kid is probably ready for the major leagues and the Braves will certainly be tempted to add him to the Opening Day roster.  Cox even hinted at the idea earlier this month.

Rays moving spring camp due to damage caused by hurricane

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Rays are relocating their spring base for 2023 due to extensive damage to team training facilities caused by Hurricane Ian.

The Rays have trained since 2009 in Port Charlotte, Florida, about 90 minutes south of St. Petersburg, and intend to explore several options before making a decision on where to hold spring training and play Grapefruit League games when camp opens.

The team and Charlotte County released a joint statement Thursday, saying damage to Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte can’t be repaired in time to host games this winter.

“Charlotte County supports the Rays efforts to secure alternative accommodations for 2023 spring training,” the statement said.

“We are all disappointed for the residents of Charlotte County and the fans there. The community is in the thoughts and hearts of the Rays, and the team will continue to support recovery efforts,” the statement added. “The Rays and Charlotte County intend to develop a restoration plan for Charlotte Sports Park in the coming weeks.”