Brewers' Schafer making a case to be in lineup
Sep 23, 2012 at 5:58p ET
But since joining the Brewers bench for September call-ups, Schafer has proved plenty. And on the day of his first-ever major league start -- replacing Carlos Gomez in center field -- Schafer proved outright that he may belong in the same breath as the more seasoned players in Milwaukee's outfield.
After tallying a hit in the second inning as well, Schafer came up in the fourth in an important situation. With two men on, Jonathan Lucroy had already knocked in one run. But another run could give the Brewers the momentum they'd need to hold onto a victory. But Schafer approached the at-bat with a cool head, unfazed by the obvious pressure surrounding the Brewers' wild card hopes.
"It's baseball," Schafer said. "I've played so many games of baseball. The mound never changes. It's 60 feet, six inches away . . . Obviously, before the game, I had a little bit of anxieties and stuff just kind of wanting to be a part of this club. But once you get back out on the field, it's a baseball game."
So Schafer approached the at-bat much like he has been since he was called up. In a clutch situation, the young center fielder delivered with a deep double to right field, scoring Corey Hart and advancing Lucroy to third. The run would give the Brewers enough to hold a tie after the Nationals made a push in the fifth, as Milwaukee went on to win 6-2.
But Schafer's day -- done after Carlos Gomez replaced him in the sixth -- was another display of why Schafer may find himself in the lineup more often. So far this season, he's batting .462 with four RBI in 12 at-bats.
It was certainly enough to impress his manager and earn one of the more glowing compliments Ron Roenicke has given all season.
"He did a nice job," Roenicke said. "He squares up a lot of balls. He's a very good defender. Offensively, it's hard to ever say if a guy is going to get hit in the big leagues, but he squares up a lot of balls.
"He gets the job done. Good things happen when he's out on the field, and it makes us comfortable with putting him out there."
Follow Ryan Kartje on Twitter.