Schafer gets first big league start in two years

Pittsburgh – Jordan Schafer returned to the Braves’ lineup Tuesday night for the first time in almost two years, getting the start in center field for the injured Nate McLouth.

Schafer hadn’t played in the majors since May 31, 2009, just three days before the Braves traded for McLouth and effectively gave up on the notion that Schafer was ready to play center field every day.

Schafer had injured his left wrist just four games into that season and futilely tried to play through it. He has spent the better part of two years working his way back from the ensuing surgery. He’s also gained some perspective.

“All the stuff I’ve been through has been pretty crazy, but I think it’s made me grow up a lot where I think I’m more mature now mentally,” said Schafer.

One way that might show up is in his approach. Schafer said unlike his first two months in the majors in 2009, when he struck out 63 times in 167 at-bats, he’s focused on staying within himself, getting on base and using his speed to his advantage.

Schafer, a leadoff hitter throughout his career, homered in his first major league at-bat in Philadelphia and acknowledges now that got him off-track from the start.

“Hitting a home run the first at-bat was one of the worst things besides the injury that happened to me because it got me out of my element,” Schafer said. “It got me trying to be somebody I wasn’t.”

This time around he won’t make the same mistake, and for at least the two weeks while McLouth is on the disabled list, he’ll have a chance to prove it. He gave a clue in his first at-bat Tuesday, fouling off a bunt attempt on the first pitch he saw from pitcher Charlie Morton before grounding out.

Schafer was hitting .256 (42-for-164) with one home run and 21 RBIs in 42 games for Gwinnett.

“He’s been playing OK in Triple-A, leading off a lot, get some speed up there,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “We know that he can play defense. He may be the best defender we have in the entire organization; he’s your pure center fielder.”

23 comments Add your comment

eskippy

May 24th, 2011
7:27 pm

Freddie Freeman

May 24th, 2011
7:32 pm

Freddie is going deep from first.

bravofan

May 24th, 2011
7:32 pm

It’s league

Vain Jangling

May 24th, 2011
7:59 pm

Moderate me, baby!

shawn

May 24th, 2011
8:16 pm

Glad to see schafer in the big league hope that he will be there for a long time..I just do not think that McLouth is the answer

Brave Fan

May 24th, 2011
8:57 pm

Good for Schafer. At least he has a chance to prove himself plus he can run. Mclouth will not get it done day in and day out. He would have never scored on the ball in the corner tonight that Schafer scored on.

bruce

May 24th, 2011
9:43 pm

Rooting for you Jordan !!!!

TomaGlavineHawkChop

May 24th, 2011
9:49 pm

Agree with you shawn. Hope Schafer plays well.

If Nate McLouth is the answer, I want to know what the question is.

mathman

May 24th, 2011
10:29 pm

Who Sucks? The Answer to your question.

Jim Bakker

May 24th, 2011
11:05 pm

Schafer gets first big leage start in two years.

What is this “spellcheck” I keep hearing about?

bvillebaron

May 25th, 2011
8:42 am

Can’t recall when I last saw someone in a Braves uniform fly around the bases like Schafer did last night on Prado’s double. Watched the game on the Pirate network and the announcer said that with Schafer’s speed they knew it was a run as soon as the ball got past the third baseman. Given his speed, defense and throwing arm, if he can hit at this level, he will really help the team.

Terry Dunlap

May 25th, 2011
8:52 am

Do I see another Schafer in Heyward. Home run in his fist at bat!!!!!!!! Hmmmmmm, something to think about. Heyward also had injury problems last year, and this year!! Enough said!!!

The Scout

May 25th, 2011
9:15 am

Schaefer went O for 4.

All that speed doesn’t mean squat if you don’t get on base, like a leadoff hitter is supposed to do.

Its not like Braves’ logic (Bobby/Fredi) employs the stolen base strategy anyway. Swing for the fences on the first pitch is Braves’ only offensive strategy.

Luke Goddard

May 25th, 2011
9:28 am

Hey “The Scout”: you’re NUTS. He scored 1 of our only 2 runs by flying from 1B to home on a dribbler down the line. Do you know anything about this game? Schafer is a huge addition right now.

Jimmo

May 25th, 2011
9:45 am

C’mon AJC, you’ve had plenty of time to fix that “league” typo in the headline.

MacGruber

May 25th, 2011
11:11 am

Alright, this is just ridiculous now. DOB/Carroll Roger duo…please proofread your articles before posting them. Hell, I’ll do it for you, for free. One article a few days ago was absolutely riddled with errors…and now this? Come on guys, you’re better than this. You owe it to your readers.

Webster

May 25th, 2011
12:25 pm

Not enough people read the AJC anymore to fret over the typos and poor grammar.

Manny

May 25th, 2011
12:57 pm

Jordan Schaffer looks like Bettlejuice………

Dorothy Davis

May 25th, 2011
12:59 pm

Looks like Schafer was a good replacement for Heyward. So enough of the Hype about players from the farm team that do not produce! (Heyward) He (Schafer) will be the first SPEED this team has had in a long time. And lets face it, if you don’t hit you better have speed! Heyward has neither.

Me

May 25th, 2011
1:26 pm

Nate getting a lot of hate from Braves fans,,i know he has his moments when he’s not the player we want him to be, but he’s also had some good at bats for us…i think we need to all give him a little credit…glad to see Jordan back and it sounds like his mind is right this time around…maybe the answer for us is having to good guys out in center rotating…but as a Braves fan its pretty annoying when you come on here and see nothing but crap talking from “fans”…i don’t see yall out there playing 180 games…but whats the saying those you can do and those who can’t criticize…GO BRAVES!!!

South Ga boy in the Atl

May 25th, 2011
1:30 pm

Uh ms Davis “heyward has no speed.” I guess if your 6′5″ and fly like a gazelle rather than the space shuttle orbiting the earth every hour. Geez lady, spend the money for that eye surgery you so desperately need

David O'Brien

May 26th, 2011
12:03 am

Alright, this is just ridiculous now. DOB/Carroll Roger duo…please proofread your articles before posting them. Hell, I’ll do it for you, for free. One article a few days ago was absolutely riddled with errors…and now this? Come on guys, you’re better than this. You owe it to your readers. — MacGruber

Nah.

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