Schafer was a highly regarded prospect for the Braves when he worked his way through the minor leagues. He had confidence and cockiness when he first entered the big leagues, but the results on the field didn't match the potential.
"Physically the stuff has been there," Schafer said. "Mentally, I've been all over the place. I need to grow up and mature a little bit. I've [been dumb] in the past. But I think mentally, I'm in a good place right now."
Schafer served a 50-game suspension in 2008 due to a link to human growth hormone. A wrist injury early in the 2009 season plagued him until he finally returned to the majors in 2011. He was then arrested for felony possession of marijuana at the conclusion of the 2011 season.
Schafer has had his fair share of ups and downs, but manager Fredi Gonzalez doesn't see the same immaturity that seemed to be Schafer's downfall in the past.
"When he got in trouble with [the marijuana charge], he had just finished his first season with Houston and I called him up and got into him a little bit," Gonzalez said. "But I see a different guy now."
Schafer is now back with his former team after a tumultuous stint with the Houston Astros, and he hopes to earn a spot on the Braves' roster.
"I was excited just to get out of that situation," Schafer said of his departure from the Astros. "More than anything, I couldn't take that much losing. I've never lost at anything like that. It was kind of like you were just expected to lose. … That's just not a good feeling."
Schafer will likely be competing with Jose Constanza for the Braves' fifth outfielder spot.
"I think it took me a little longer," Schafer said. "But I think the biggest adjustment for me is mentally. I feel like I'm in a good frame of mind now."
The Braves certainly hope that new frame of mind leads to better results.
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