UPDATE: David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Schafer was diagnosed with a small non-displaced sinus fracture.
The Braves will hold off on a roster move for now, but Matt Young and Joe Mather will likely see time in center field over the next few days. Wilkin Ramirez would likely be called up from Triple-A Gwinnett if Schafer requires a stint on the disabled list.
Friday, 9:12 PM: Braves center fielder Jordan Schafer was taken to the hospital for X-rays after fouling a bunt attempt off his face in the fifth inning of Friday’s game against the Mets.
Schafer was trying to drop one down for a hit, but the ball went off the top of his bat and caught him in the right side of the face in the area of his upper lip and nose.
Schafer has been the Braves’ everyday center fielder since Nate McLouth landed on the disabled list last month. McLouth is believed to be at least a week away, so the Braves will have to scramble if Schafer is going to miss some time. Joe Mather took his place in center tonight, but neither Mather nor fellow backup Wilkin Ramirez has a lot of range out there.
Update – Whoops. I missed that the Braves had farmed out Ramirez and brought back Matt Young on Tuesday. So they do have a legitimate backup center fielder. One who can’t hit, but a legitimate backup nonetheless.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.