Heyward adds to legend in first at-bat

By Mark Bowman
Updated: April 5, 2010

Jason Heyward watches his three-run home run in the first inning Monday's game against the Chicago Cubs in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Rich Addicks)

Jason Heyward watches his three-run home run in the first inning Monday's game against the Chicago Cubs in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Rich Addicks)

ATLANTA — Jason Heyward’s legend grew even larger on Monday afternoon when the Braves phenom drilled a three-run homer on the first swing of his Major League career.

After looking at two fastballs from Carlos Zambrano, Heyward mashed a 2-0 sinker deep into the Braves bullpen beyond the right-center field wall for a three-run homer. The 20-year-old made his way around the bases to the sound of a thunderous applause provided by a sold-out crowd at Turner Field.

As Heyward made his way back to the dugout after providing his club a 6-3 lead, he was greeted by Chipper Jones, who stretched his arms out and gave the young outfielder a hug.

The Braves pounded the Cubs 16-5 in the season opener for both clubs.

Heyward, who was drafted out of suburban Atlanta’s Henry County High School with the 14th overall selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, had the hometown faithful stirring as he made his way to the plate. Before slugging his monstrous home run he was serenaded with boisterous chants of “Jason Heyward.”

After becoming the sixth player in Atlanta history and just the 11th player in Braves franchise history to homer in his Major League debut, Heyward took his position and found the fans beyond the right-field wall applauding him even louder than they had when he took the field to start the game.

While making his Major League debut for the Braves on Opening Day last year, Jordan Schafer became the 99th Major League player to homer in his first career at-bat.

Heyward, who is widely regarded as the game’s top prospect, is wearing No. 22 this year in honor of his former high school teammate, Andrew Wilmot, who was killed in an automobile accident in 2007.