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Heyward unveils offseason work, batting leadoff in spring opener

Jason Heyward breaks his bat in a game against the Mets last season.

MESA, Ariz. – After months of behind-the-scenes work and public anticipation, Jason Heyward and his new swing make their 2017 debut Saturday in the leadoff spot for the Cubs’ home Cactus League opener.

Tune in at 2:05 p.m. on WGN-TV for the big unveil.

“I’ve been watching him in batting practice and I can see it’s a lot freer and the ball’s coming off hotter,” manager Joe Maddon said. “But it’s all about game. I’m really eager for him, because everybody just talks about all the work he’s done all winter. And I sense that he feels good about it, and he’s kind of in a nice peaceful moment with himself. So it’ll be really fun to watch.

“Of course, there’s still going to be probably some tweaking to go with it as they move it further forward. But I like it.”

Maddon said Heyward could get a slight increase in at-bats over a normal spring as he works to bounce back from the worst offensive season of his career (.230, seven homers, .631 OPS).