Tag: Jordan Schafer

Byron Buxton

Twins lose Byron Buxton to thumb injury two weeks after call-up


Byron Buxton’s rough start in the majors just got much rougher, as the Twins placed the stud center field prospect on the disabled list with a sprained left thumb suffered during a stolen base attempt Tuesday.

Buxton played through the injury Wednesday, going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts as the Twins’ leadoff man against White Sox ace Chris Sale.

To replace him on the roster the Twins called up Danny Santana, who was recently demoted to Triple-A after hitting .218 with a .525 OPS and 49/2 K/BB ratio to lose the Opening Day shortstop job.

Minnesota just released Opening Day center fielder Jordan Schafer and Aaron Hicks is on the disabled list with an elbow injury for at least a few more days, so the Twins figure to turn to Shane Robinson or shift Santana to center field where he played last season.

Buxton hit .189 with a .501 OPS and 15 strikeouts in 11 games after being called up from Double-A at age 21. Twins manager Paul Molitor told Dana Wessel of 96.3-FM in Minnesota that Buxton will probably miss “at least a month.”

Twins release outfielder Jordan Schafer

MINNEAPOLIS, MN- APRIL 18: Jordan Schafer #1 of the Minnesota Twins bats against the Cleveland Indians on April 18, 2015 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Indians defeated the Twins 4-2. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

The Twins have released outfielder Jordan Schafer, who has been out since mid-May with a knee injury.

After a strong finish with the Twins last season, Schafer began this season as the team’s center fielder, but he struggled to the tune of a .217/.250/.261 batting line over 74 plate appearances and went 0-for-3 in stolen base attempts prior to going on the disabled list with a strained medial collateral ligament in his right knee. Surgery wasn’t necessary, but he had yet to go out on a minor league rehab assignment.

Schafer’s presence was fairly redundant for Minnesota, as Byron Buxton recently took over as the starting center fielder while Shane Robinson is in place as a backup and Aaron Hicks should eventually return from a forearm injury. There probably wouldn’t be room for him when healthy and the Twins will need a 40-man roster spot when Ervin Santana returns from his PED suspension in a couple of weeks, so it made sense to just cut him loose.

A former highly-regarded prospect with the Braves, the 29-year-old Schafer is a .228/.308/.307 hitter over 463 games in the majors.

The marginalization of Oswaldo Arcia

Oswaldo Arcia

There are currently seven major leaguers 24 and under with a career OPS+ over 100 in at least 500 at-bats.

167 – Mike Trout
135 – Bryce Harper
108 – Manny Machado
105 – Christian Yelich
104 – Oswaldo Arcia
103 – Avisail Garcia
101 – Nolan Arenado

Six of those guys are considered building blocks by their teams. The other, Arcia, seems to be at a career crossroads already, even though he’s hardly tasted failure at any point in his career.

Arcia arrived in the majors before his 22nd birthday, debuting in April 2013. He was demoted a few times that season, even though his numbers were decent, if unspectacular, throughout. He finished up at .251/.304/.430 with 14 homers in 351 at-bats.

The next spring, Arcia was penciled right in as the Twins’ right fielder, only to develop wrist troubles very early on. He was placed on the DL on April 9. He went on to excel in his rehab assignment, hitting .308/.349/.487 in 12 games, yet the Twins optioned him to Triple-A for a spell anyway. He came back in late May and played regularly the rest of the way, finishing up at .231/.300/.452. Despite the low average, he had a 108 OPS+, largely because of his 20 homers (second on the Twins).

After last season, the Twins took away Arcia’s position by signing Torii Hunter, but he was still seemingly assured the left field job. However, weird things happened right off the bat. The left-handed-hitting Arcia started Opening Day against lefty David Price, only to find himself on the bench against a righty three days later. Arcia went on to sit three times in the first nine games. He slumped. He only started to pull out of it at the end of April, going 7-for-13 with a homer in four starts. That’s what a hip injury put him on the disabled list.

Despite that promising surge, it was apparent right away that Arcia might not immediately reemerge in Minnesota’s plans following his return. For one thing, the team needed a break from playing three liabilities in the outfield, as it often was with Arcia in left, Jordan Schafer in center and Hunter in right. Arcia’s struggles against lefties and his strikeout rate were also problems, even though he didn’t fan overly much during April (15 K’s in 65 PA).

Sure enough, Arcia was sent down after going hitless in the first four games of his rehab assignment. It’s the third time in three years he’s been optioned out. Whether it’s the hip, his frustrations over being buried or something else, he’s continued to slump since the demotion, hitting .214/.227/.310 in 12 games.

Arcia is a flawed player. The troubles against lefties aren’t going away, and he’s a poor outfielder perhaps best suited to DH duties. That seemed like a big problem at the start of the year, following Kennys Vargas’s emergence. But with Vargas also struggling to find his way with these 2015 Twins, there’s plenty of room for Arcia at DH should the team decide to go that route. Obviously, it hasn’t happened yet.

Still, it’s not at all reasonable that the Twins are so down on him. Beat writers have speculated that he’ll be traded. One writers suggested this spring that he should begin the season in the minors. Of late, there’s been more talk about prospect Miguel Sano becoming the Twins’ DH than Arcia. Oddly enough, Arcia is playing regularly in right field in Triple-A, even though the team surely won’t ask Hunter to change positions this year. It makes little sense. Right-handed power is difficult to come by these days, and young hitters as productive as Arcia rarely prove to be flops.

Maybe all of this turns around if Arcia turns it on in Triple-A over these next few weeks. After all, the Twins have given Shane Robinson two starts and Eduardo Escobar one start in left field over these last five games. Vargas has slumped since his return from Triple-A and has no sort of handle on the DH job. It’s not hard to imagine Arcia spending the final three months of the season as one of the Twins’ best hitters. Unfortunately, it’s also not hard to imagine him getting traded for a veteran security blanket as the Twins try to gear up for a playoff run.

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

Empty Camden Yards

source: AP

Orioles 8, White Sox 2: I talked about this as I was watching it yesterday, but the key takeaways for me were how (a) an empty ballpark actually makes Hawk Harrelson’s commentary . . . sort of OK; and (b) the blistering pace. As a fan it was easy to get used to watching this one pretty quickly because, really, a game on TV is in some ways like watching a game filmed at a studio. It’s all pitcher-batter-play-in-the-filed focused in ways that watching a ballgame at the park isn’t. The lack of crowd noise made a big difference initially, but it was easy to ignore after an inning or two. As for the pace, commenter 2131andbeyond hit the nail on the head, I think:

As someone who has attended ~400 games at Oriole Park over the last decade, what I noticed during today’s action was simply the heavy focus on the game itself. Lack of distraction, so to say. There are so many interactions throughout the game involving fans, from tossing balls and even checking out foul balls, that add up over time. Also, no sound effects or music between pitches and at bats, which generally guys will let play out before pitches are thrown. In this case, after a home run, the celebration generally would have gone on 20-30 seconds longer, but didn’t occur. Those small bits of entertainment value, while also keeping the players fully focused on the game and nothing else, easily adds up to a good chunk of time over nine innings.

There was a lot of getaway day first-pitch swinging too, but I agree that the players just got on with it a lot more than usual. I’m sure the atmosphere, or lack thereof, had a lot to do with it.

Angels 6, Athletics 3: Mike Trout homered and hit a bases-loaded double. Albert Pujols left the game with a leg injury. It doesn’t seem terribly serious, but the Angels are going to err on the side of caution by exiling him to another state, removing all evidence of his existence from the ballpark, initiating legal proceedings in an effort to claw back tens of millions of dollars for his betrayal and offering pissy little statements about how he has yet to apologize.

Nationals 13, Braves 4: I guess Tuesday night’s game opened the floodgates for the Nats’ offense. Here they rattled out 15 hits, including a three-run single for Jordan Zimmermann. The Braves have lost seven of nine. We’re seeing a lot fewer stories about their grit and play-the-game-the-right-way attitude these days, huh? I guess that stuff doesn’t matter too much when you, you know, suck.

Marlins 7, Mets 3: Ichiro hit a three-run homer, giving the Marlins some insurance runs and giving hope to all of us old S.O.B.s over 40. Giancarlo Stanton also homered, reminding us that this is a young man’s world. Dee Gordon added two more hits, raising his average to a four-speed dual-quad posi-traction .409. The old S.O.Bs out there will get that reference.

Brewers 8, Reds 3: Ryan Braun hit a grand slam and a solo shot. There were seven homers total in this game, accounting for 10 of the 11 total runs scored. Reds starter Michael Lorenzen — no relation to Moose; unsure about Jared — gave up three of them in his big league debut.

Rays 3, Yankees 2: A-Rod had a bad game — 0-for-6 with four whiffs — and has been hitting poorly, but I question whether he is really worth the first 11 paragraphs of a 20-paragraph AP game story. Especially in a game where one of the teams’ bullpens combined for seven scoreless innings, following up a starter in Drew Smyly who struck out ten in the six. The Yankees’ pen allowed one run in seven and a third, but that one run — a James Loney RBI single in the 13th — was the difference.

Tigers 10, Twins 7: Two homers for Miguel Cabrera brings his line to .370/.453/.630 with five bombs and 17 RBI. Yawn. Neither of his homers was as unconventional as James McCann’s, whose first career homer was an inside-the-park number. McCann is a catcher of course. Check it out (and try to ignore the fact that Jordan Schafer went to his right several steps before going back on the ball):


Astros 7, Padres 2: Six straight wins for Houston, including this three-game sweep in which they outscored the Padres 30-9. Dallas Keuchel allowed only three hits in eight innings and raised his record to 3-0, but saw his ERA rise from 0.62 to 0.73. I guess that just shows that he’s been pitching to the score. The Padres have dropped seven of eight.

Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 1: Rick Porcello turned in a performance that the Sox really needed from their staff, allowing one run on two hits over seven innings. Hanley Ramirez homered once again. He has 10 in the month of April.

Indians 7, Royals 5: Jason Kipnis homered and drove in four. Scary moment in the fifth when Danny Salazar beaned Alcides Escobar. Escobar seems OK and it did not seem intentional, so there was no retaliation from the Bad Boys of Baseball. That’s saying something since Yordano Ventura was on the mound. Of course, since he has a suspension pending, him hitting an Indians batter here would be like a guy knocking over a liquor store while out on bail and awaiting sentencing for grand theft auto.

Cardinals 5, Phillies 2: Peter Bourjos showed off his legs. He hit a game-tying RBI triple, scored on a fielder’s choice that a lot of dudes wouldn’t have scored on and robbed Chase Utley of extra bases with a nice catch. He got caught stealing once, though, so I suppose his legs have their limits. Ryan Howard homered, but he also grounded out into the shift three times. After the game:

“No, I don’t like it at all,” Howard said. “That’s four hits. I’m hitting the ball hard, it’s just that guys are playing shifts.”

Well, sorry.

Mariners 5, Rangers 2: Logan Morrison was 4-for-5 and doubled in a couple of runs. Felix Hernandez improved his record to 4-0. Used to be he’d allow two runs while pitching into the seventh and come away with a no decision or worse. Four errors for the Rangers.

Pirates 8, Cubs 1: Andrew McCutchen went 2-for-5 with a two-run triple and notched his 1,000th career hit. Which seems kind of crazy, but that’s how time works for you when you’re an old S.O.B. You think things like “wait, McCutchen is only playing in his fourth or fifth season, right?” Then you look up and realize you’ve forgotten years. Sometimes decades. Because the 1990s were just a few — wait, holy crap! Gerrit Cole struck out eight and allowed only an unearned run in six innings.

Diamondbacks 9, Rockies 1: When Josh Collmenter is on, he’s on. And here he was on, tossing eight innings, striking out six, not walking anyone and allowing an unearned run. Jordan Pacheco hit a three-run homer and Yasmany Tomas drove in three.

Dodgers 7, Giants 3: Homers from Joc Pederson, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier and Jimmy Rollins. The game story talks about how it’s hard to do that at night in L.A. because of the marine layer. My San Diego-living brother talks about the marine layer all the time. Kind of bitching about it because he’s been in California for 20 years now and gets all complainy when it isn’t 75 degrees or more with sun beating down on him directly. Personally, I think the term “marine layer” is a beautiful term, just as far as language goes, and like to say it a lot. Marine layer, marine layer, marine layer. Besides, to have it, it means you have an ocean next you, so stop whining, Curtis.

Wait, sorry. That got a bit personal. I’ll just text him next time.