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Schafer, Hernandez sent to G-Braves

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — With Nate McLouth having a bounce-back spring, Jordan Schafer had no chance to win the center field job with Atlanta. But he didn’t hit well enough to even contend for a backup spot.

Schafer was among the players optioned to Gwinnett by the Braves on Thursday. In addition to Schafer and Mike Minor, also sent down were shortstop Diory Hernandez and relief pitchers Juan Abreu and Jairo Ascencio.

Schafer, who was Atlanta’s starting center fielder in 2009 after a breakout spring, hit just .167 in Grapefruit League play this year. McLouth, meanwhile, is batting .304.

Hernandez was hitting .276 for the spring, while Abreu and Ascencio had both been almost perfect. Abreu’s ERA is 0.79 and Ascencio’s is 0.67. Ascencio is the former Luis Valdez, who led the International League in saves for Gwinnett in 2009.

Thursday’s moves by the Braves left 33 players in camp.