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.
The Red Sox have more or less withdrawn from the Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes, with Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald noting that much of their reluctance hinges on the likelihood that they’d exceed the new $195 million luxury tax threshold by locking the DH into a lucrative deal. That doesn’t leave them without options, however, and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the club could be interested in 29-year-old corner infielder Pedro Alvarez, as well as fellow free agents Mike Napoli and Matt Holliday.
After playing just 10 games at DH from 2010 to 2015, Alvarez suited up as the Orioles’ primary designated hitter and part-time third baseman in 2016. His defense is sub-par, to say the least, but he batted .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs for Baltimore in 2016.
According to Heyman, the Red Sox envision using Alvarez in much the same way the Orioles did. He’d have a place as the team’s DH with the occasional infield start, while Hanley Ramirez would keep his post at first base. Whether the Red Sox make offers to Napoli, Holliday or Alvarez, they’re expected to pursue a short-term deal in order to stay under budget.
The Braves signed left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement on Sunday.
Lindgren, the Yankees’ top draft pick in 2014, was nicknamed “The Strikeout Factory” after blowing through four levels of New York’s farm system in 2014. He started the 2015 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was called up for his major league debut only two months into the 2015 season. The 22-year-old lasted seven innings with the club before succumbing to bone chips in his elbow, and underwent bone spur surgery in June before trying his luck again during spring training in 2016.
In August, the Yankees shut Lindgren down for the remainder of the season so the lefty could undergo Tommy John surgery. With a projected return date of 2018, Lindgren was non-tendered by the Yankees on Friday.
While the Braves won’t get the benefit of Lindgren’s top prospect skill set in their bullpen anytime soon, he will remain under club control if they keep him on their 40-man roster beyond the 2017 season (per ESPN’s Keith Law).