Schafer Returns To Strange New Braves World

Outfielder Not Assured Of Job After Season With Astros.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - by David Jenkins
Jordan Schafer
Jordan Schafer
- photo by Tim Evearitt

     When Jordan Schafer and Michael Bourn swapped teams at the 2011 July trade deadline, both the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros were acquiring what they hoped was their center fielder of the future.

    But as spring training draws near in 2013, here's Jordan Schafer looking slightly lost as a member of the Braves Caravan. Michael Bourn is nowhere to be seen as both teams' long-term plans for their new outfielder went by the boards, and Schafer, no longer the camp phenom at age 26, is not even assured of a job.

    It's a strange new Braves world Schafer rejoins after being claimed on waivers almost immediately after the Astros tried to removed him from their 40-man roster.  At the time, Frank Wren claimed the move was a virtual no-brainer for the Braves because they'd seen what a healthy and focused Schafer could do.

    But that magical minor league season of 2007, when he hit .312 with 74 extra base hits and 23 stolen bases, is a distant image in the rear vliew mirror. Schafer is delighted to return to the organization that drafted him (or so he told Twitter in mid-January).  But he noticed almost immediately that these are not the save Braves he remembered.

    "It's very different," Schafer said. "I think this team will be a lot more athletic team all-around, a better team all around," he said during the Braves Caravan stopover in Dalton this week. "It's a team moving in a different direction."

    That was a phrase Schafer heard when the Astros gave up on him after he started less than 90 games in 2012 (.211-4-23 with 23 SBs). That followed his 30-game tryout the previous September, when he hit .245 with seven steals. Some nagging injuries and  an off-season pot citation were all likely contributing factors.  At present, the whys and wherefores are still eluding him.

    "They're goving in another direction,"  Schafer said, choosing his words carefully. "They have a couple of other young players that they wanted to get to a good look at."

     Any hopes he entertained of being a key part of Atlanta's new look were diminished soon after his return when the Braves snatched up the free agent contract of another of the game's top center fielders, B.J. Upton from Tampa Bay.  Just that quickly, his battle was to avoid being Gwinnett's everyday center fielder in 2013.

    No one would consider Schafer a front-runner for the Braves' extra outfielder job, as former Cub Reed Johnson ranks among the National League's best pinch-hitters.

    More than a couple of fans raised their eyebrows upon seeing Schafer among those signing at the Caravan signing. Ironically, he was probably the most qualified Braves player to inform fans and media about his new teammate, third baseman Chris Johnson. Acquired with Justin Upton for a five-player package headed by Martin Prado, Johnson was Schafer's teammate with the Astros for most of the 2012 season.

    "He's a good player," Schafer said. "He's a good offensive player who knows how to hit. He can hit for power, but knows how to hit the ball the other way.  Plus, he's a good guy and someone I'm excited to have on this team."

Follow David Jenkins on Twitter at DavidAJ4325

 


Chattanooga FC Set To DefendsSteinbrecher Cup

The Chattanooga Football Club will host the US Soccer Amateur National Championship this weekend.   The four team tournament known as the Steinbrecher Cup will be played once again at Finley Stadium on Friday and Saturday. Chattanooga FC won the tournament last year being crown the top amateur club in America.   Westchester United and Chicago Fire PDL will play ... (click for more)

Millard Keeps Lead In State Open

GALLATIN, Tenn. -- Jason Millard shot 3-under 69 Wednesday and maintained his lead in the SunTrust Tennessee State Open at the Club at Fairvue Plantation. Millard, from Murfreesboro, leads Nashville's Eric Ansett by three shots. Ansett only finished 15 holes on Wednesday Round two will resume Thursday morning at 7:30 with the final round to start at 9. The field will be ... (click for more)

Dunlap Man Arrested, Accused Of Shooting Sheriff's Deputy Following Wednesday Night Pursuit

Shaun Michael Powers, 21, of Dunlap accused of shooting a Sequatchie County deputy following a Wednesday night pursuit, was arrested and charged by special agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. At the request of 12th District Attorney General J. Michael Taylor, TBI Special Agents began investigating the circumstances surrounding the shooting of Sequatchie County ... (click for more)

Attorney For Bobby Stone Hits Berke, Fletcher For Commenting On Pending Case

The attorney for Bobby Stone on Wednesday said it was "fundamentally wrong" for Mayor Andy Berke and Police Chief Fred Fletcher to comment on the case in which Mr. Stone is charged with domestic assault against his wife, Berke advisor Lacie Stone. Attorney Lee Davis said the comments were unfair and "a disservice to the court." Mayor Berke denied any inappropriate contact ... (click for more)

Case Handled Like Any Other? - And Response

It is interesting that Chief Fletcher would deem the handling of the Mayor's encounter as typical or normal. Is the Chief asking the public to believe that all misdemeanor domestic violence arrests include a 4-hour taped interrogation, and delayed reporting after a visit to the Chief’s house. Of course, we believe that Chief Fletcher. April Eidson * * *  I ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The American Dream, 2016

On this, the week of commencement, junior high graduations, and achievement at every level is displayed, we stand with hope and wonder as the next wave of promising Americans gives our nation the reason we pray for our next tomorrow. On Monday, as Vice President Joe Biden addressed 950 cadets who would become 2nd Lieutenants by the end of the day at the United States Military ... (click for more)