Schafer a late scratch; Pena should be back in spring

Jordan Schafer was scratched from the original Braves lineup Friday due to soreness in his right ankle from the foul tip he hit off it during Wednesday’s game at Kansas City.

Schafer was in the first posted lineup, playing center field and batting leadoff. It would have been the fifth consecutive start for a player who’s been one of the Braves’ most pleasant surprises, batting .309 with a .397 on-base percentage and a team-high nine stolen bases in 59 games.

In his past 40 games, he was 29-for-88 (.330) with 10 extra-base hits and a .539 slugging percentage.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Schafer might be available to pinch-hit Friday and could be ready to play this weekend.

Pena update: Braves general manager Frank Wren said infielder Ramiro Pena should be ready for spring training after having surgery Thursday to repair a torn labrum.

Wren wouldn’t say whether the Braves might seek a trade to replace the versatile Pena, who was having his best season offensively, batting .278 in 97 at-bats with career-hight in extra-base hits (nine) and home runs (three).

“We’ll see how the (current) guys play,” Wren said. “We get the defensive element from Paul Janish, he showed us last year that he can do that.”

The Braves have two backup infielders on the current 25-man roster, light-hitting defensive stalwart Janish and Tyler Pastornicky. One of them is expected to be sent back to Triple-A when Evan Gattis returns from the disabled list.

Pena considered trying to play with the injury and postpone surgery until after the season.

“I think after Dr. (James) Andrews saw him, they didn’t feel there was a real high-percentage chance that he could just rehab and come back and play and wait till the end of the year to have the surgery, because of what they saw in the MRI,” Wren said. “When we talked to him, we felt it was really a decision that Ramiro would have to make, because the percentages were low.”

Gonzalez said: “Significant, is what I heard. Significant tear in the back of the shoulder, and we’re looking at spring training. When you operate on the shoulder, it takes that amount of time.”

Beachy update: Brandon Beachy, whose rehab has been shut down for two weeks due to inflammation in his surgically repaired pitching elbow, will probably throw off a mound during the homestand, Gonzalez said. Beachy would likely have a couple of bullpen sessions before being sent back out to resume his minor league rehab assignment. No timetable has been announced, but he probably would need at least two more rehab starts before he would be activated by the Braves.

Etc. Reliever Luis Ayala threw the hardest he has since going on the DL during an appearance at Triple-A Gwinnett. It sounds as if he could be activated relatively soon…. Ex-Brave Eric Hinske was designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks on Friday, before the opener of a series he was looking forward to against his former Atlanta teammates. He hit .173 with one homer and 17 strikeouts in 53 at-bats for Arizona.

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