St. Louis – It’s taken longer than Jordan Schafer expected, but the center fielder is making significant progress toward returning from wrist surgery.
He’s played in a handful of games the past week at Braves extended spring training camp in Florida, general manager Frank Wren said. Schafer steadily increased his workload in that span, going from two at-bats to a scheduled full nine-inning game Monday.
That’s quite a bit ahead of where he was last month at the end of spring training, when Schafer, the Braves’ 2009 Opening Day center fielder, still wasn’t ready to face live pitching or hit on consecutive days. He had surgery Sept. 5.
Barring setbacks, a May return to Class AAA Gwinnett seems likely. The Braves said during the winter that they hoped to have Schafer, 23, ready to rejoin the major league team by midseason.
With the team getting little production from outfielders Melky Cabrera, Nate McLouth and Matt Diaz, it could be interesting to see whether Schafer might be called upon once the team believes he’s ready.
As a rookie in 2009, Schafer hit two homers in the opening series at Philadelphia, then injured his wrist in the home opener in the fourth game of the season. He didn’t divulge how serious the pain was and tried to play through the injury, eventually diagnosed as a fracture.