MLB

Heyward playing CF in new-look Braves lineup

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ATLANTA (AP)

Fredi Gonzalez juggled his lineup for Wednesday night's game against the Miami Marlins, giving Michael Bourn his first day off this season.

With the Braves in the middle of a stretch when they play 33 games in 34 days, Gonzalez said he chose Wednesday to give Bourn and third baseman Chipper Jones a break. Juan Francisco is starting at third base.

Jason Heyward is making his first career start in centerfield, moving from his normal spot in right field. Matt Diaz is in right field.

Freddie Freeman is back in the lineup at first base after missing one game with a scratched right eye.

Bourn is hitting .340 and leads the National League with 55 hits.

''You're going to have to pick a spot to give him a breather,'' Gonzalez said of Bourn. ''He's a little banged up right now. Nothing major. His legs are a little banged up, so we picked now. He knew this three days ago or four days ago.

''I don't like to surprise my players, so I sat down and talked to him and he was good.''

Gonzalez said he wasn't worried about Heyward's defense in centerfield.

''I don't have to see, I know what he can do,'' Gonzalez said. ''We did it in spring training. He played six or seven games in centerfield. He's athletic. He can do it. I think he likes it.''

Rookie shortstop Tyler Pastornicky, who normally bats eighth, is filling in for Bourn as the leadoff hitter.

''I'm excited,'' Pastornicky said. ''It will be fun to hit in the first inning.''

Pastornicky said he hit first, second or third in the minors.

''In his future, he's a top of the order type of hitter,'' Gonzalez said.

Tagged: Braves, Michael Bourn

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