Schafer Looks To Regain Health After Frustrating 2010 Season

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The other day, I wrote about Brewers RHP Brandon Kintzler’s “dream season.”  While there are plenty of those stories here at the Arizona Fall League of players finally making their dreams come true, there are also some stories of frustration and broken dreams.  Such is the case with Brewers outfield prospect Logan Schafer.

The lefty missed nearly the entire 2010 season with a slew of injuries, one just seemed to pile on to another.  In fact, he played his only seven games of the season with a broken foot.

“I had the most frustrating year of my life this year,” Schafer said. “It was definitely tough on me physically and also mentally.  Physical pain is something everyone can go through, but the mental pain is really tough.  There were times during the year when I asked myself if I would ever be completely healthy again.”

Schafer started with a groin injury that sidelined him for much of Spring Training.  In extended Spring Training in Arizona, he fouled a ball off his right foot, but still reported to Brevard County and played seven games on what turned out to be a fractured foot.  At that same time, he found out his groin problem turned out to be a hernia that would require surgery.

“It was tough especially since I had three different injuries and they occurred at different times,” Schafer said.  “They just kind of piled on to each other.  I had a couple of times where I thought I would get on the field and, boom, something else happened.” 

For the rest of the summer following his June surgery and right into the Fall League, Schafer reported to Maryvale Baseball Park to rehab with Brewers Minor League physical therapist Kenny Patterson and Brewers Minor League strength and conditioning coordinator Jeff Mester.

“When I came to terms of missing a year,” Schafer said.  “I redirected my focus to getting healthy for the Fall League and then winter ball and hopefully being ready to go for next Spring Training.  I want to be ready to prove I am worth of making it to the Big Leagues next year.”

Schafer was coming off a stellar 2009 season where he was named the Brewers Minor League player of the year.  That season, he won the Florida State League batting title with a .313 batting average.  That earned him an invite to Major League Spring Training in 2010, however, the groin injury was suffered just days prior to reporting to Major League camp.

Although Schafer has played in only three games (he is also in today’s starting lineup, playing in centerfield) during the fall, he is trying to work himself back into game shape after months of rehab.

“Being able to get back to playing actual games and get healthy is unbelievable,” Schafer said.  “I felt like I was coming to the field everyday (for rehab) and something was missing.  Coming out here and seeing this talent is something that I can take different things away from everyday.  It is a lot of fun being here in the clubhouse and dugout with them.  It is great to be on the field again.”

guerreroschaferthirdbase.jpg

Schafer and Guerrero talk at third base during a recent Arizona Fall League game.

Entering today’s game, Schafer is hitting .500 (6-for-12) with one RBI.  Huntsville Stars and Surprise Rafters manager Mike Guerrero said the key for him at this point is getting healthy and getting some at bats against the solid pitching in the Arizona Fall Leauge.

“For Logan, we are looking to get him back in a routine and back on a track that he was on,” said Guerrero.  “When he is completely healthy, we know what he can do.  Our prime thing is to get him at bats and when his opportunity comes, we want him to make the best of that opportunity.  He is a talented guy and has great ability.  It is too bad that he missed so much of the season because of his injuries, but I think he is on the way back and is going to have another great year next season.”

Schafer, a California-native, said that he has been in Arizona for nearly the entire year.  He spent two weeks with Brevard County and two weeks home in Los Gatos, Calif. following his surgery.  He mentioned the possibility of playing winter ball to continue his recovery and ensure he reports to camp in tip top shape.

“Hopefully I find out about winter ball in the next week or two,” Schafer said.  “If I don’t end up going, I don’t think it would be a bad thing to get back to 100% healthy and continue to get my legs stronger.  I’m still a little sore, but it is nice to play, I wish I could play a little more to get back into it, but I’m enjoying my time and feel like I’m getting healthier and healthier every day.”

A 2008 third round selection by the Brewers in the First-Year Player Draft, Schafer had early success in his professional career and is not going to let the frustrations of 2010 hinder his development.

 “I’m going to just do my best to work at getting to where I need to be and I feel like that is in the Big Leagues sometime in 2011,” Schafer said.  “Everything I do and all the work I put in is all for the goal of getting there and winning games.  I really want to get and stay healthy and prove that I can do what I can do.  I feel that as long as I stay healthy and get there, people will know what kind of player I am and that I’m able to compete on that level.”

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