Brewers Schafer Reflects on 2011, Looks Forward to 2012

I talked to Logan Schafer today and I reminded him that we talked about a year ago while he was here playing at the Arizona Fall League. He had a number of frustrating injuries during the 2010 season, injuries that only allowed him to play seven games that year. It was extremely frustrating especially coming off a 2009 season that saw him earn Brewers Minor League Player of the Year honors and named a Florida State League All-Star.

He used the 2010 Fall League as a stepping stone for what the Brewers outfield prospect hoped would be a promising 2011.

“It was definitely a year of ups and downs for me personally,” said Schafer.

He was extended an invitation to Major League Spring Training only to have another freak injury. On March 15 at Scottsdale Stadium, Schafer was on first base and broke his thumb trying to break up a double play. It was another injury and another setback for Schafer.

“It was tough getting hurt again at Spring Training, breaking my thumb on another freak injury,” Schafer said. “It was something I couldn’t really avoid, trying to break up a double play. That put me on the DL for a good month and a half and I came back in the middle of May and after rehab started in Double-A and then worked my way up to Triple-A.”

Schafer’s stat line from the 2011 season reads like a tour around the entire Brewers system, nine games at Class-A Brevard County, 50 games at Double-A Huntsville, 40 games at Triple-A Nashville and, a September call-up to the Big League Club and two games with the Brewers. He made his Major League debut on September 2 as a pinch runner and scored the first run of a three-run seventh inning that started a Brewers comeback win in Houston.

“I was very lucky to have the opportunity to get called up in September and join a championship caliber team for that month,” Schafer said. “I really enjoyed seeing them work; it was a great first taste of the Big Leagues.”

Logan Schafer

Logan Schafer

After a year of battling back and getting his swing to where he knew it could be, Schafer hit .302 in Double-A and .331 in Triple-A. In September he found himself in the middle of the Brewers chase for a National League Pennant.

“It was exactly what I had dreamed about,” said the 25-year-old lefty. “Every game, every inning, every at bat, every pitch mattered. It really was special to be a part of that. Those guys really knew how to keep it loose, that clubhouse was unbelievable and very open. Everyone could talk to each other freely. It was a lot of great personalities on that Brewers team that meshed together well and it was really interesting to see how they handled their business every day, how they focused and prepared for games every single day while at the same time staying loose.”

It was reported today that one of those personalities, free agent outfielder Mark Kotsay, would be signing with the San Diego Padres. When told of the news, and a possible opportunity with an open roster spot, Schafer was excited.

“I had a lot of fun with Kotsay, he really taught me a lot and was really good to me. I’m very happy for him,” Schafer said. “As for me, I’m just playing the game, I’m ready to go and hopefully make the most of the opportunities that are given to me.

If I go in to Spring Training with the mindset of just playing hard and staying focused, I know good things will happen. I have had a couple of ups and down with injuries, but when I’m healthy and ready to play, I’m focused and ready to come to work.”

Tomorrow, Schafer will leave the Arizona Fall League to undergo a precautionary MRI on his wrist to make sure everything is healed properly as he closes out his 2011 season.

“Really, I feel great. My body feels great. I missed a week out here with some inflammation and I was just letting that calm down a bit and got back to playing again and now I feel great. Coming to the end of November here, it is good to know that my body has held up pretty well. It has been a pretty long year for me, but I feel great.”

Today, Schafer went 3-for-5 with a double and RBI and is hitting .302 with two home runs and 16 RBI this Fall.

“Obviously, I didn’t get to play every day in September and that is why it was great to come out here again,” Schafer said. “Every game mattered in September and I understood that I couldn’t play all the time, but it is great to be here and get some more at bats before the year ends. I feel like I have my swing back and I have been hitting well, it is good to have that back.”

Schafer said following his time here in Arizona, he will take about two weeks off to rest before getting back to his regular weight routine and agility workouts.

“You can just go in there and let things happen and play the game and play hard. I don’t make decisions; I just play and play hard. Come Spring Training, I’ll be excited to go out there, get hits and make pitchers want me out there in the outfield.”

TUESDAY WRAP UP
Score
: Peoria 11, Mesa 9
Weather: Sunny, 71 degrees
Tomorrow: Peoria at Scottsdale, 7:35 p.m. CT
Brewers In the Box Score: Scooter Gennett led off the game with a double, he finished the day 3-for-5….. Logan Schafer had a fantastic bunt for a hit in the third inning but was later called out on a close call attempting to steal second base, Schafer added a double in the 6th and finished the day 3-for-5…..Zelous Wheeler played first base for just the second time during the Fall League and had a RBI triple in the 6th that scored Schafer, he finished 1-4…..Casey Medlen came in to pitch a perfect 7th inning and recorded one strikeout.
On the Other Team: A prospect in the Twins organization, outfielder Aaron Hicks went 4-for-5 for Mesa.
Arizona Fall League Brewers History Note: Former Brewers C Mike Matheny, who was recently named manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, played in the Fall League as a Brewers Prospect in 1993.

Scooter Gennett

Scooter Gennett

Casey Medlen

Casey Medlen

Zelous Wheeler

Zelous Wheeler

Fall Fodder

- Gennett entered the day with a .432 batting average, good for second in the AFL, after today’s game, his average is .434, just .003 points below his fellow Peoria teammate and Padres prospect Jedd Gyorko (.437).

- It was announced today that Wheeler was named one of six nominees for the AFL Stenson Sportsmanship Award. The manager and coaching staff from each team were asked to nominate one player for the award and the winner will be announced prior to the start of Saturday’s AFL Championship Game (2 p.m. CT on MLB.com and MLB Network). The award was named in memory of Dernell Stenson, the late Cinicnnati Reds prospect who was killed in 2003 in Arizona during the AFL season. The award is presented annually to the Fall League player who best exemplifies unselfishness, hard work and leadership.

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

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