KISSIMMEE, FLA. - Jason Heyward's batting practice drives are costing the Atlanta Braves -- but local body shops aren't complaining.
Heyward launched a shot over the right-field wall this week that smashed through the sun roof of assistant general manager Bruce Manno's car. The bill was $3,400.
Heyward has dented other vehicles, too. So much damage, in fact, the young slugger is turning the parking lot into Jason's Junkyard.
The daily demolition derby has forced the Braves to take action. Stadium workers are installing protective netting to safeguard the cars and any unsuspecting people walking around.
The Braves spent 12 years at their spring training home without worrying. Heyward, a 20-year-old outfielder and perhaps the top prospect in baseball, forced a change after one week of workouts.
"I guess they just figured it's time to stop waiting around on that," Heyward said.
Other hitters reached the lot long before Heyward. But the frequency with which the 6-5, 245-pound masher sends line drives over the wall made it necessary to take immediate steps.
"It's more pronounced this spring with everyone looking at Heyward and he's the one doing it," Braves manager Bobby Cox said Friday.
The parking lot is behind the bullpen at Champion Stadium on the Disney World property. Behind the parking lot is a wall about 20 feet tall -- Cox calls it the Yellow Monster and Heyward has also cleared that wall, sparing some cars broken glass.
Manno wasn't so fortunate. On Friday, he was still without his car, which was damaged Tuesday.
"Half of the roof was shattered and the track that the glass slides back and forth on was damaged," Manno said. "It was bent. The entire thing had to be replaced."
"I don't know what happened to the ball. I wish I had the ball. I would have had Jason sign it," he said.
Heyward hit a combined .323 with 17 home runs and 63 RBI in 99 games at Class A, AA and AAA last year. Showing a good eye, he drew 51 walks with 51 strikeouts.
Heyward has a chance to earn the Braves' starting job in right field.
"He's all he's made up to be," said veteran Eric Hinske, who joined Heyward's four-man group during the first week of batting practice.