Results tagged ‘ Jordan Schafer ’

Braves claim Schafer from Astros

In Jordan Schafer, the Astros got a player with plenty of athleticism, but who could never seem to put it all together or stay on the field because of health reasons.

Schafer was claimed off waivers Thursday by the Braves, the team that traded him to Houston in the middle of the 2011 season as part of the Michael Bourn deal.

Schafer began last season as the Astros’ starting center fielder, but numerous injuries and a drop in production, as well as some concerns about his attitude, caused him to fall out of favor. He hit .211 with four homers, 27 stolen bases and 106 strikeouts in 313 at-bats with the Astros, but a shoulder injury limited him to 21 at-bats in the final two months.

The Astros have options in center field with Justin Maxwell, who can play all over the outfield, and rookie Brandon Barnes, who made his debut last year and made a handful of highlight reel catches in center. Waiver claim Che-Hsuan Lin can also play center field.

The subtractions of Schafer and infielder Matt Downs, who was designated for assignment earlier this week, and catcher Chris Snyder, whose option wasn’t picked up, and the addition of Lin put the 40-man roster at 37. That doesn’t include pitchers Kyle Weiland and Sergio Escalona, both of whom are on the 60-man disabled list.

Schafer was one of the top prospects for the Braves, who drafted him, four years ago before they sent him to Houston on July 31, 2011. In the deal, the Astros also received pitchers Brett Oberholtzer and Paul Clemens, both of whom reached Triple-A last year, and reliever Juan Abreu, who’s no longer in the organization.

Schafer was pulled from a game in July for what then manager Brad Mills described as “behavioral reasons” and was out of the lineup the following day. He was arrested last year and charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia during a traffic stop. He entered a drug pre-trial interview program.

Considered a solid defensive player who can run, Schafer will have a chance to begin the 2013 season as one of Atlanta’s backup outfielders. His acquisition likely lessens the odds of Jose Constanza beginning next season with the Braves.

Schafer hit .228 with four home runs and a .616 OPS in the 132 games he combined to play for the Braves during the 2009 and ’11 seasons. He homered in the first at-bat of his career and tallied two home runs in his first three games. But Schafer was never the same after suffering a left wrist injury during the fourth game of his career.

Schafer returns as Astros battle Cubs

The Astros try to make it two in a row over the Cubs tonight at Minute Maid Park. Here is the Astros’ lineup, which includes the return of Jordan Schafer:

2B Jose Altuve

SS Jed Lowrie

RF Justin Maxwell

1B Carlos Lee

LF J.D. Martinez

3B Chris Johnson

C Chris Snyder

CF Jordan Schafer

LHP J.A. Happ

Lowrie injury a growing concern to Mills

UPDATED: GM Jeff Luhnow weighs in on Lowrie:

Astros manager Brad Mills spoke Saturday morning with a growing concern that shortstop Jed Lowrie won’t be ready for the start of the season.

Lowrie, who sprained his right thumb diving into second base during a pick-off attempt Wednesday, took some ground balls and played catch on Friday, but Mills said he didn’t feel as good as the team would have hoped.

“He wasn’t able to grip the ball as well as we’d like,” Mills said. “We’re going to wait and see how that works out. It’s pretty tender.”

Mills raised some doubt whether Lowrie would be able to play in any of next week’s exhibition games – Monday at Double-A Corpus Christi and Tuesday and Wednesday against the White Sox in Houston. An X-ray and an MRI showed no structural damage to the thumb.

“Jed was going so well and swinging the bat so well,” Mills said. “We’re going to have to check him out and make sure he’s healthy, throwing and swinging the bat and everything else. It’s going to be interesting to see how he comes around.”

When asked if Lowrie might not be ready for Opening Day, Mills said. “There’s always that concern, there’s no doubt. But these next couple of days are going to be crucial in trying to figure out how it is and into tomorrow and as we get into those exhibition games, whether he’s going to be able to play at all.”

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said team is prepared for anything.

“It’s really about how much [Lowrie] can tolerate and how quickly he feels ready to get back into games,” he said. “That could be a few days, it could be a couple of weeks and anywhere in between. We need to proceed with contingency plans in place for Jed being ready to go Opening Day and Jed not being ready to go Opening Day.

“The good news is even if he’ snot ready to go Opening Day, we’re not talking about an extended absence. We’re talking about something relatively short. It would be nice to have him in there on Opening Day and he’s a big part of the team this year, but if he’s not it won’t be the end of the world.”

If Lowrie starts the year on the disabled list, it could be backdated until Wednesday, assuming he doesn’t play in any games the rest of the spring. That means if Lowrie started the season on the DL, he would miss the first six games of the regular season.

As far as contingency plays, the Astros still have Rule 5 shortstop Marwin Gonzalez in camp and have brought Brian Bixler and Angel Sanchez back over from Minor League camp.

Meanwhile, center fielder Jordan Schafer, who hasn’t played in nearly two weeks because of a nerve injury in his left hand, was scheduled to take batting practice Saturday. Schafer was supposed to hit on the field Friday, but team doctors wouldn’t allow it.

“Today’s a big day for him,” Mills said.

Schafer to see hand specialist in Atlanta

Astros center fielder Jordan Schafer, who hasn’t played since injuring his left hand making a diving catch in the outfield March 18, was scheduled to fly to Atlanta on Tuesday afternoon to be examined by a hand specialist, general manager Jeff Luhnow said.

Schafer had hoped to return to the lineup Monday after taking batting practice over the weekend, but the hand hasn’t responded as well as he had hoped. He was held out of drills completely Tuesday. Schafer was diagnosed with a hand sprain, but said Saturday it’s more of an issue with the nerves in his hand.

“My sense is that by the weekend he’ll be back hitting and hopefully be in games by the end of the weekend,” Luhnow said. “We have to be cautious and if he feels any discomfort at all we’re going to take it easy on him. The goal is to have him ready to go on Opening Day.”

Schafer has had plenty of problems with his left hand in the past. He had left wrist surgery at the end of the 2009 season, and last year broke a joint on his left middle finger. He was on the disabled list with that injury when the Astros acquired him from the Braves last July as part of the Michael Bourn deal. Schafer is having a terrific spring and is hitting .391 (9-for-23).

Astros manager Brad Mills said he’s not yet worried about Schafer not being ready for Opening Day.

“As each day we go, those concerns probably grow,” he said. “As of right now, we’ve got a ways to go. If we get to Sunday and he’s not in there, it becomes a concern because he hasn’t faced live pitching.”

 

Schafer says hand sprain is ‘really sore’

Astros center fielder Jordan Schafer, who sprained his left hand making a diving catch in Sunday’s win over the Mets, is expected to miss about a week. Schafer was still in some pain Monday.

“It’s really sore today,” Schafer said. “Like they told me, with a sprain the next day is probably going to be the worst. I’m just happy it’s not broken. I’m OK with missing a couple of days, but I just didn’t want the break and to miss a couple of months. I’m happy it’s only a sprain.”

And for good reason. Schafer has had plenty of problems with his left hand in the past. He had left wrist surgery at the end of the 2009 season, and last year broke a joint on his left middle finger. He was on the disabled list with that injury when the Astros acquired him from the Braves last July as part of the Michael Bourn deal.

Schafer is having a terrific spring and is hitting .391 (9-for-23) and will be the team’s starting center fielder. He drew a pair of walks Monday and scored two runs in his only two plate appearances as the leadoff hitter against the Mets.

Meanwhile, outfielder Justin Ruggiano didn’t travel with the team to Jupiter on Monday because of what he says was a stomach virus.

Game 8: Duke, Lyles get stretched out

The Astros got a good look at a pair of candidates for the starting rotation Saturday, with veteran left-hander Zach Duke and young right-hander Jordan Lyles both throwing four innings in a 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays. You can check out the boxscore here.

Here’s the breakdown:

What went right: Both Jordan Lyles and Zach Duke pitched pretty well, with both getting hurt by home runs. Duke gave up a two-run homer to former Pirates teammate Jose Bautista and a solo homer to Travis Snider. Lyles allowed a homer to Bautista, who’s one of the premier sluggers in the game.

Duke brought up a good point after his outing, saying he would have approached the at-bat to Bautista differently in the regular season with first base open. That’s why you can’t get too worked up about Spring Training results this time of year, especially for a veteran guy like Duke. Lyles continues to work with his new curveball grip and said he was happy with those pitches.

The Astros had eight hits from eight different players: George Springer, Matt Downs, J.D. Martinez, Chris Snyder, Chris Johnson, Jonathan Singleton, Joe Thurston and Brad Snyder. Chris Snyder, Singleton and Thurston hit doubles, with Thurston picking up the Astros’ only RBI. Springer scored a run on a balk.

What went wrong: Well, the Astros did give up three home runs, but Jose Bautista — who hit two of them — is going to do that to a lot of teams this year. In fact, he did it to the Astros last year in Toronto.

The Astros didn’t string many hits together and it didn’t help that they hit into two double plays and were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Jordan Schafer (.333 spring average), Jack Cust (.000), Brett Wallace (.083) and Marwin Gonzalez (.083) each went 0-for-3. Gonzalez, who has the reputation as a polished defensive player, committed a fielding error.

After a hot start, the Astros’ bats have been stifled three games in a row.

What they said: “The Bautista at-bat, obviously if this were the regular season I would have worked at it a little different knowing I had first base open. The Snider home run, I wanted to go away with a fastball and threw it down the middle and good hitters hit those pitches out. All in all, I’m pretty pleased with how it went.” — Astros pitcher Zach Duke on his four-inning outing Saturday.

What’s next: Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who led the Astros in wins last year, makes his second start of the spring when the Astros return to Kissimmee to play the Detroit Tigers at 12:05 p.m. CT Sunday. The game should also mark the spring debut for infielder Angel Sanchez, who injured his back early in camp and has been cleared to play. The Astros have not announced what other pitchers will throw.

Injury update: Non-roster outfielders Justin Ruggiano and Travis Buck are both nursing mild oblique strains and should return to action in a day or two. … Left-hander Sergio Escalona (elbow inflammation) is throwing at 60 to 90 feet and could throw in the bullpen on Sunday or Monday. … Infielder Angel Sanchez (back) is expected to play Sunday and will be removed from the injury report. … Catcher Humberto Quintero (bulging disk) is catching bullpens.

Here are the photos from Dunedin:

The players stretch upon arriving in Dunedin. Notice the artificial turf infield.

Brad Mills hits some fungos. Or is it fungoes?

Joe Thurston scoops up a ground ball in drills.

Jack Cust prepares for batting practice.

J.D. Martinez works on tagging up from third.

Hard-working hitting coach Mike Barnett.

Morning update from Kissimmee

Good morning from Kissimmee, where the Astros (4-2) play the Toronto Blue Jays at 12:05 p.m. CT today at Osceola County Stadium. This will be the first of two consecutive games against the Jays, with the Astros going to Dunedin, Fla., tomorrow.

Here’s what’s going on this morning.

– Astros manager Brad Mills pretty much has all his regulars in he starting lineup for the first time today, with Brian Bogusevic at designated hitter. No, the Astros aren’t prepping for the American League. They will use the DH in home games for about another 10 days or so before the pitchers begin to hit. Anyway, Mills is still tinkering with his lineup and said he’s trying to decide where to bat switch-hitting shortstop Jed Lowrie: “I’m trying to get a feel for him,” he said.

– Catcher Humberto Quintero, who had a cortisone injection into his back on Wednesday to help alleviate the pain from a bulging disk, said he feels great. The veteran said he will catch in the bullpen on Saturday and attempt to block balls and throw on Sunday. Look for Quintero to perhaps be ready to play on Monday.

– Infielder Angel Sanchez, who has also been dealing with back pain, is expected to play today, though he’s not in the lineup. Mills said the team doctors don’t want Sanchez riding the bus for four hours Saturday when the Astros travel to Dunedin, Fla., to play the Jays, so he plans to have him in the starting lineup Sunday at home against the Tigers. “We want the opportunity to get him at-bats and be seen and do the things he’s capable of doing,” Mills said.

Astros lineup:

CF Jordan Schafer

RF Jason Bourgeois

LF J.D. Martinez

1B Carlos Lee

DH Brian Bogusevic

SS Jed Lowrie

C Jason Castro

3B Jimmy Paredes

2B Jose Altuve

LHP J.A. Happ

Schafer apologizes for off-season arrest

Astros center fielder Jordan Schafer, who was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia during a traffic stop following last season, apologized publicly for the first time Monday shortly after arriving at camp.

Schafer, traded to the Astros from the Braves last July, is currently in a court-mandated pretrial intervention program in Florida that will clear his record if he successfully completes it.

“It was a bad situation,” Schafer said. “First of all, I want to apologize to the Astros and say I’m sorry for the inconvenience they went through and I’m sorry to the fans. I got caught up in a bad situation and hopefully I’ve learned from my mistake and moved on and become a better person for it, and hopefully we don’t have any more instances like that. Hopefully I can be a good role model and learn from this.”

Schafer said he’s thankful of how supportive Astros management has been during his ordeal.

“They’ve stood behind me, which I really appreciate,” he said. “I put them in a bad spot and I’m going through everything as far as the process they want me to do. I’m in a program and taking tests and stuff and doing whatever they ask me to do. I’m extremely appreciative of the Astros for standing behind me, and the fans and my family for being there.”

Schafer reported to camp at 204 pounds after putting on about 15-20 pounds this winter working with Orlando-based trainer Tom Shaw.

“I’m ready to get in here and get going and put everything that’s happened behind me,” he said.

Continuance in Schafer case

A continuance has been granted in the case of Astros outfielder Jordan Schafer, who appeared in a Florida court Monday morning to face charges of possession of marijuana, a third-degree felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a first-degree misdemeanor.

Schafer, who arrested in October following a traffic stop in Tampa, is scheduled back in a Hillsborough County court on Nov. 28 after the court asked for a continuance in the case. Schafer’s attorney declined comment.

Schafer, acquired by the Astros from the Braves in the Michael Bourn trade earlier this year, was arrested early on Oct. 4 when undercover police officers spotted him smoking marijuana while driving his black Land Rover and initiated a traffic stop. Police found more marijuana in the vehicle.

The Astros have maintained their stance of not commenting on police matters.

According to a Tampa police report, Schafer was driving a 2008 Land Rover with the windows down when he pulled up next to police officers inside an unmarked car. Both vehicles were stopped at a red light when the officers smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle and saw the driver smoking marijuana.

The officers pulled over the Land Rover, and Schafer admitted to smoking marijuana and having more in the center console. After he was read his rights, he admitted the marijuana was his and his alone. There were two passengers in the vehicle.

The officers searched his vehicle and located a plastic container with 25.9 grams of marijuana, along with three small marijuana peanut butter cups which contained 247.8 milligrams of marijuana, according to its packaging.

Schafer, 25, hit .245 and stole seven bases in 30 games in a part-time role with the Astros. He was on the disabled list with a hand injury when the Astros acquired him, and wound up starting 25 games after coming off the disabled list on Aug. 22.

The former top prospect in the Braves’ Minor League system, Schafer was suspended 50 games in the Minor Leagues in 2008 for use of human growth hormone in violation of the Minor League drug prevention and treatment program.

 

Schafer’s return clogs center field picture

Jordan Schafer, the lone Major League player the Astros got in last month’s trades with the Giants, Phillies and Braves (pitcher Henry Sosa has since made his Major League debut) will be activated from the disabled list today and will likely in the starting lineup for his Astros debut when the Astros open a three-game series at Colorado tonight.

Schafer injured his finger sliding into a base on July 20, while he was still with the Braves, and went 10-for-20 in five games during his Minor League rehab at Oklahoma City. Once the top prospect in the Braves system, Schafer has a career .223 average in 577 Major League at-bats. He doesn’t have much power (three home runs), but he certainly can run and cover ground in center field. He has 17 steals in 102 games.

The debut of Schafer probably means less playing time for Jason Bourgeois, who had a terrific first half when he was healthy. Bourgeois took over in center when Michael Bourn was sent to the Braves on July 31 and he’s batting .155 (9-for-58) in 16 games since. He stole two bases on the day Bourn was traded, but hasn’t had a stolen base in August.

If Bourgeois had been posting the kinds of numbers he did in the first half, manager Brad Mills would have a tough decision. Perhaps Bourgeois is better fitted for a reserve role, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Having Bourgeois available to pinch run late in a game will be a huge weapon. J.B. Shuck has also seen time in center recently, but he’ll likely split time in right field with Jason Michaels (against left-handers) and Brian Bogusevic (against right-handers).

Needless to say, the Astros are eager to see what Schafer can do.

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