The Braves have made a trade hours before the deadline, acquiring outfielder Michael Bourn from the Astros.
The left-handed center fielder was acquired for center fielder Jordan Schafer and three minor-league pitchers, left-hander Brett Oberholtzer and right-handers Paul Clemens and Juan Abreu.
Schafer is currently on the disabled list with a finger fracture. The Braves are also without centerfielder Nate McLouth, who is on the disabled list with an abdominal strain.
“I thank the Braves for sticking by me the entire time,” Schafer said while packing up his locker. “With everything I’ve been through, they’ve been great to me. It’s a business. They have to do what’s best for the team. They have to what’s best to try to win a World Series this year.
“It sucks, truthfully. I was comfortable here. At the same time I’m excited to go there. Any time you get traded the team obviously wants you. I’m excited to go over there and start fresh and try to start winning.
“I don’t know if the injuries had anything to do with it. The first one set things back quite a bit. Like I said, it’s a business. It happens. I’m not the first player to be traded. I’m not going to be the last. I’m thankful for the opportunity they gave me.”
Other reaction to the deal:
David Ross: “We are so banged up right now, a move for a guy that has some gold gloves out there, a true leadoff hitter, is something we’ve been lacking. They like to put [Martin] Prado in the two-hole and I think that makes our lineup a lot deeper - getting a true leadoff hitter, someone who can steal bags, someone who is healthy. We are looking forward to that.
“It’s stinks to lose Schaf. We enjoy each other in here and we are a real close-knit group. When you lose a teammate it’s never fun. It’s one of those things that it’s part of baseball. We will move on. He will move on. We wish him the best. Hopefully Michael Bourn gets in here soon and contributes.
“[Schafer] was getting a real chance here. I think they liked him. He did some good things for us this year. He scored a lot of runs. He stole some bags while he was here. He was starting to come into his own. He’s had to learn on the fly a little bit with some guys down, but he was doing a good job with it. I think he’s got a bright future ahead of him.”
Dan Uggla: “Michael Bourn is a great player. I’ve heard nothing but good things about him as a person, too. We are excited to have him. We are sad to lose Schaf. He worked his butt off to get up here.
“Michael is going to help us out a lot. He is a legit gold glove center fielder. We are excited to have him. … He’s established. He’s one of the fastest guys in the league. He plays an unbelievable center field. He’s going to put together good ABs and get on base. That’s what he’s always done.
“[Schafer] might be a little frustrated because we all know how much he loved it here. We all loved him just as much. He has really improved his game since the last time I saw him in 2009.”
Here is the team release:
The Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros announced today that the two clubs have completed a five-player trade. The Braves have acquired outfielder Michael Bourn and cash from the Astros in exchange for outfielder Jordan Schafer and minor-league pitchers Juan Abreu (RH), Paul Clemens (RH) and Brett Oberholtzer (LH). Bourn will wear uniform number 24.
Bourn, 28, is a two-time Gold Glove Award winner and in the midst of perhaps his finest offensive season. In addition to his .303 batting average, which currently ranks 13th in the National League, Bourn leads the majors with 39 stolen bases and leads the NL with 28 infield hits. With 32 RBIs this season, Bourn is just six shy of his career high of 38 set in 2010. Since June 1, he is tied for the NL lead with 72 hits and he ranks fourth with a .336 batting average. On Friday night, Bourn snapped a career-best 13-game hitting streak in which he batted .424 (25-for-59).
“Michael Bourn is a perfect fit for our club, which focuses on speed and defense to match up with our strong pitching,” Executive Vice President and General Manager Frank Wren said. “This trade gives us the first true leadoff hitter we’ve had in a number of years.”
Bourn began his career with the Philadelphia Phillies organization after being taken in the fourth round of the 2003 June Draft. He appeared in the postseason with the Phillies in 2007 before being traded to the Astros prior to the 2008 campaign. The Houston native batted .285 with a league-leading 61 stolen bases in 2009, then became a National League All-Star in 2010, when he batted .265 with a league-best 52 steals.
In 663 career games over his six-year major league career, Bourn has batted .271 with 586 hits and 212 stolen bases in 256 attempts (83%). Since 2008, he has led all of baseball with 193 stolen bases. Bourn is signed through the 2011 season.
Schafer, who turns 25 in September, is the only player in the trade who has Major League experience for the Braves. He has appeared in 52 games for Atlanta this season and is currently on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured left long finger. He is a .223 career hitter in 102 big-league games (2009 & 2011).
Abreu, 26, has appeared in 41 games this season for Class-AAA Gwinnett and is 4-2 with a 2.25 ERA. He came to the Braves as minor league free agent in 2009.
Clemens, 23, was selected by the Braves in the seventh round of the 2008 June Draft and has gone 6-5 with a 3.73 ERA in 20 starts at Class-AA Mississippi this season.
Oberholtzer, 22, was Atlanta’s eighth-round pick in the 2008 June Draft and is 9-9 with a 3.74 ERA in 21 games at Mississippi this season.