8/1/2014 9:32 P.M. ET
Schafer designated for assignment after Deadline
Braves send reliever Shreve to Triple-A Gwinnett after acquiring Russell from Cubs
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- For the second time in three years, Jordan Schafer's days with the Braves will likely end courtesy of a Trade Deadline acquisition.
Schafer was designated for assignment on Friday to create a roster spot for Emilio Bonifacio, who was acquired from the Cubs on Thursday afternoon. There is a strong possibility Schafer will be claimed off waivers by another club. If he is not, the Braves will have 10 days to decide whether to trade him, release him or send him to Triple-A Gwinnett.
"I'd be surprised if he lasts 10 days out there," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I think somebody will take a shot at him as a fourth or fifth outfielder. He can do a lot of good things."
Bonifacio and left-handed reliever James Russell were scheduled to be in uniform with the Braves for Friday night's series opener against the Padres. To create a roster spot for Russell, the Braves optioned left-hander Chasen Shreve to Gwinnett.
Schafer certainly did not help himself when he was inexcusably picked off second base during the final inning of Wednesday's 10-inning loss to the Dodgers. But this decision was also influenced by his ongoing offensive struggles -- .163 batting average and .256 on-base percentage -- and the fact that the opportunities for him to provide value with speed and defense would decrease with Bonifacio's presence as a super-utility man.
Once the top overall prospect in the Braves organization, Schafer began 2009 as Atlanta's starting center fielder, and then he saw his tremendous promise fade after he suffered a hand injury during the season's first week. The athletic outfielder struggled with Gwinnett over the next year and a half, and then he started to get some playing time in '11, just before he was included in the Deadline deal with which the Braves acquired Michael Bourn from the Astros.
After spending a forgettable season and a half with the Astros, Schafer was thrilled to see the Braves claim him off waivers after the 2012 season. He then seemed to come into his own as a backup, batting .309 with a .397 on-base percentage through the 59 games he played before suffering a stress fracture in his right foot on June 26. Schafer has hit .170 (32-for-188) with a .254 on-base percentage in the 98 games he has played since returning from the foot injury.
Shreve allowed one run and six hits in the five innings he completed after making the jump from Double-A Mississippi to the Majors on July 19. While Russell's numbers against left-handed hitters have not been as impressive as they were during previous seasons, the Braves were comfortable keeping him as their only left-hander in the bullpen. By sending Shreve down, they also gave themselves a chance to continue evaluating right-hander Juan Jaime, who has a much higher upside if he can avoid the command issues that have long plagued him.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.