Hammond native Schafer wants to be face of the Astros' franchise

2011-08-25T19:00:00Z 2011-08-26T14:40:16Z Hammond native Schafer wants to be face of the Astros' franchiseBy Al Hamnik, (219) 933-4154
August 25, 2011 7:00 pm  • 

Houston Astros' centerfielder Jordan Schafer says he'll do anything to catch a baseball.

If that means crashing into a concrete wall or eating a turf sandwich on a face-first slide, then bring it on.

"I play the game extremely hard," Schafer said. "I'm always diving, whether it's stealing a base or in the outfield. If I have any shot at catching the ball, I'm gonna get it."

Schafer became the Astros' new leadoff man after being acquired from Atlanta on July 31 in exchange for Michael Bourn.

In three games to date, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound lefty is hitting .286.

Schafer injured his left wrist and required surgery as a Braves' rookie in 2009. A chipped bone in his left middle finger put him on the disabled list five days before joining the Astros.

He made his debut Monday night in Denver.

"I played every day in Atlanta, started every day in center and led off. I expect to do the same here," Schafer said. "Obviously, they have to like you in order to ask for you in a trade."

In 52 games with the Braves, he hit .240 with 15 stolen bases in 20 attempts.

"Going forward, he's the guy we're going to stick in (center field)," Houston manager Brad Mills told "There's some time obviously where we'll get some other guys. But we need to find out, too, because we don't know a lot about him.

"Everything we've seen and everything we've heard, we really like. We'll take a look and see where we go from there. He's a welcome addition."

Schafer had an auspicious MLB debut with Atlanta on April 5, 2009, when he homered in his first at-bat and finished the game 2-for-3.

Born in Hammond, he attended school in Florida but played Little League ball in Highland. His father Dave is a 1982 Highland grad, as are sisters Dayna and Dawn and brother Doug.

And how's this for poor timing?

Dave Schafer had purchased tickets for this week's four-game Braves-Cubs series at Wrigley Field, expecting to watch Jordan play.

"That's gonna be an extremely special moment for my family when we come to Chicago in the middle of next month, especially with me being born up there and all of them huge Cubs fans," Jordan said.

"It's not fun being traded from a playoff team to a team that's not in contention. I'm a guy who wants to win. I really don't do well with not winning, so hopefully I can become one of the faces of the (Houston) franchise, whereas it would be a lot harder making your mark in Atlanta."

Not all of Schafer's collisions have been with walls and fences. The 2005 third-round pick was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball after being accused of HGH use.

Schafer never tested positive for HGH nor was he proven to have purchased HGH.

"That was a long time ago and I didn't do anything wrong," Schafer said. "I've moved past that and I've had enough success to where people don't bring it up anymore.

"It happened, and I stand by what I said."

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