Today is an off-day for the Atlanta Braves, but they've been a busy club this afternoon.
The first noteworthy transaction for the day came with the signing of veteran utility man Julio Lugo to a Minor League contract. He'll likely start in Gwinnett and could see some playing time in Atlanta should Dan Uggla, Alex Gonzalez, or Chipper Jones go down with injury.
Lugo, 35, has spent the last few seasons with the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles, though he hasn't hit well since the '05 season in Tampa Bay. It's tough to say who the better option would be between Lugo, Brandon Hicks, and Diory Hernandez, but hopefully we won't have to use either one on a regular basis.
The signing is a zero-risk move and Lugo is a veteran with playoff experience. Who knows, maybe he could bring something to the Major League club in August and September, even if it is unlikely.
The second roster move of the day came with placing Nate McLouth on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique. This is the 2nd time in two weeks the Braves have had to place a player on the DL with an oblique injury, the other being Brandon Beachy. McLouth will likely miss 2-3 weeks to fully recover from the injury, though oblique injuries have been known to linger for more than a month.
The third (and probably most exciting) move of the day came with Jordan Schafer being called up to Atlanta. We all know the story: Top prospect, allegedly tested positive for HGH and was suspended 50 games, but then reports denied that he ever tested positive, had an incredible first month in the Major Leagues before injuring wrist, played through injury which led to surgery and missing nearly two seasons, and then a decent return to baseball thus far in Triple-A Gwinnett.
In 2011, Schafer has hit .256/.309/.323 with 8 doubles, a home run, and six stolen bases on nine attempts.
Schafer has made some dumb decisions in his past, but it'll be interesting to see if the former-top prospect will be able to become the starting center fielder once again. It'll also be interesting to see if Fredi Gonzalez decides to start Schafer or let Joe Mather handle those duties.