FRIDAY: Fortunately, Schafer was able to receive the repair procedure rather than requiring a full ligament replacement, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. That leaves him with an approximately seven-month rehab timeline. While he won’t be able to pitch this season regardless, Schafer will have much more time to show he’s back to health before seeking his next opportunity.
TUESDAY: Cardinals left-hander Jordan Schafer, who is in his second season of pitching after opening his career as an outfielder, is headed for elbow surgery, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. It’s not yet clear whether he’ll need Tommy John surgery or the less-invasive “primary repair” procedure (the same operation that former Cardinals righty Seth Maness underwent last August), though either operation would end Schafer’s season.
An MRI taken this weak revealed a torn ulnar collateral ligament in Schafer’s left elbow, per Goold, and Dr. George Paletta will determine upon cutting into Schafer’s arm which operation he will receive. (As Goold explained in reporting on the primary repair operation earlier this winter, candidates cannot yet be identified until the procedure is underway, as it’s largely dependent on the extent of and location of the tear.)
The 30-year-old Schafer had been attempting to make the Cardinals’ roster as an outfielder/reliever and had pitched 3 2/3 innings this spring in addition to making seven plate appearances. As Goold notes, Schafer making the team was contingent on how well hit pitched. Schafer felt something in his forearm in each of his final two pitching appearances this spring but attempted to pitch through the discomfort in hopes of making the Cardinals’ roster.
Once a well-regarded outfield prospect in the Braves organization, Schafer is a .228/.308/.307 hitter through 1472 plate appearances between Atlanta, Houston and Minnesota. Though he hasn’t hit much in the Majors, Schafer offers well-above-average speed and can play anywhere in the outfield, so adding relief work to his resume would’ve made him an interesting and uniquely versatile reserve piece for the Cards. In 49 1/3 minor league innings with the Dodgers last season, Schafer pitched to a 3.83 ERA with 10.8 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9. Opposing lefties batted just .189/.267/.396 against him in 61 plate appearances.