Jordan Schafer returned to the lineup Sunday night, just 48 hours after he thought he was seriously injured after fouling a bunt attempt off his face.
Schafer has a small sinus fracture on the right side of his face but was cleared by doctors to return when he was comfortable. He proved he was ready after a turn on the stationary bike Sunday afternoon, some running in the outfield and a feet-first slide for the benefit of Braves trainer Jeff Porter.
“It’s sore but nothing that’s going to bother me with anything,” said Schafer, who still had a little bit of swelling and a black eye. “I can see fine and everything else is good.”
Schafer said he would not hesitate to bunt if the need arises. He’s just happy to be back in there.
“I feel pretty lucky, pretty fortunate that I’m back playing first of all and that nothing was seriously wrong,” said Schafer, who spent the better part of the past two years recovering from a wrist injury. “It’s nice to be back on the field.”
Both Nate McLouth (oblique) and Jason Heyward (shoulder) are in Orlando rehabilitating at the Braves extended spring training facility, but Gonzalez indicated Sunday neither had begun taking batting practice and Heyward has yet to start “baseball activities.” McLouth has done some light throwing.
Neither is close to returning when the Braves travel to Florida to open a three-game series against the Marlins, but McLouth is on the faster track and will rejoin the team when he’s ready for bp…
Mike Minor took a perfect game into the seventh inning for Triple-A Gwinnett on Sunday, indicating he’s ready and sharp for a likely return to the Braves rotation Saturday in Houston. Minor didn’t allow a hit or a walk until the seventh inning, when he gave up both, and finished with eight shutout innings, allowing only a single in a 7-5 win over Buffalo. He struck out nine.
Minor has made two starts in the fifth starter’s spot in place of the injured Brandon Beachy (oblique). Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had told him after his quality start against the Padres Tuesday not to take for granted he’d be back in Houston and to make the most of his next outing in Gwinnett.
“I said, ‘Hey, there are no promises; you’re lined up but there are no promises,’” Gonzalez said. “But that is a good step. We haven’t made that decision but that’s nice to see.”