Twenty-three days after his jaw was broken in two places by a 90-mph fastball Braves slugger Jason Heyward was back on the field hitting Friday albeit hitting pitches thrown about 30 mph slower.

Wearing a modified batting helmet with a guard attachment to protect the right side of his face Heyward took batting practice before Friday’s series opener against the San Diego Padres at Turner Field. He had previously been restricted to hitting balls off a tee or tossed from someone beside the batter’s box.

While there is not specific timetable for his return the Braves and Heyward hope their right fielder will be able to play in some games before the regular season ends Sept. 29 and be ready for the postseason.

He’s expected to face live pitching in instructional league games at the team’s spring-training site in Florida before he rejoins the Braves.

Heyward didn’t hit balls as far as he usually does during batting practice but made solid contact with plenty of pitches and didn’t shown any signs of being encumbered by the helmet attachment as he took swings at pitches thrown by first-base coach Terry Pendleton.

Heyward also caught some fly balls in the outfield the first time he’s done that since being hit in the face by Mets left-hander Jonathan Niese during an Aug. 21 game at New York. Heyward who didn’t travel with the team on a seven-game road trip that ended Thursday had protective braces and rubber bands removed Monday.