May 23, 2011, 6:15 PM EDT
Schafer, who opened 2009 as the Braves’ center fielder, is back in the majors for the first time since June of that year. There was plenty of hype this spring that with Schafer finally healthy, he’d overtake McLouth as a regular at some point this season. However, he failed to perform well in March and he was hitting just .256/.309/.323 with one homer in 164 at-bats for Triple-A Gwinnett.
That makes McLouth a pretty big loss, even if he was hitting a modest .238/.332/.341 in 164 major league at-bats. The Braves don’t have another legitimate center fielder on the roster, so Schafer figures to get a chance to play everyday in the McLouth’s absence. The team is in better position to cover Jason Heyward‘s absence, with Eric Hinske and Joe Mather likely to platoon in right field. Wilkin Ramirez will serve as the fifth outfielder.
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