03/08/09 2:54 PM ET
Anderson unsure when he'll return
Veteran outfielder dealing with calf strain; Schafer feeling good
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
While Anderson's strained right calf was still causing him to walk with an obvious limp Sunday morning, Schafer found himself smiling about the fact that his sprained left shoulder is no longer restricting his swing.
"Step one went well," said Schafer after he felt no discomfort while taking approximately 30 swings in the batting cage Sunday morning.
Schafer, who has been sidelined since injuring the shoulder while attempting to make a diving catch on Feb. 28, plans to take regular batting practice Monday. If all goes well, the highly-regarded 22-year-old prospect will likely return to the lineup later this week and resume his battle with Josh Anderson to begin the season as Atlanta's starting center fielder.
"I'm still kind of hesitant to open up [while swinging]," said Schafer, who hadn't even attempted to swing since Tuesday. "But I didn't have any pain, and the other day I did."
Anderson, who strained his right calf muscle while jogging before Friday night's game against the Astros, is still in the very early stages of his rehab process. When asked whether it could be assumed that he'll miss at least 10 days, the 36-year-old veteran, who is slated to serve as Atlanta's everyday left fielder, said that he never likes to put a specific timetable on his potential return from injury.
"I've talked to the media long enough that I can't even say that," Anderson said. "I don't like to commit to days with injuries, because when 10 days comes, I've got to talk to you again about it. So let's check in periodically and we'll go from there. It will be easier that way, because I really don't know."
Anderson, who was acquired by the Braves on Feb. 22, could certainly be sidelined for at least two weeks. He said that he has no intention to put any added stress on his leg over the next few days.
"It's a deep muscle tissue thing, it takes time to heal," Anderson said. "You can't rush back from injury, because if you do, you're going to risk injuring yourself even more."
When camp began, Braves manager Bobby Cox's primary health concerns centered around the health of Peter Moylan and Rafael Soriano, who are both coming back from elbow surgeries. But Moylan and Soriano are currently providing less reason for concern.
Soriano threw batting practice on Saturday and he'll make his Grapefruit League debut Tuesday against the Astros. As for Moylan, he tossed a scoreless inning Sunday afternoon against the Phillies and provided more reason to believe he might be healthy enough to begin the season on Atlanta's Opening Day roster.
While retiring three of the four Phillies that he faced, Moylan got Ryan Howard to ground back to the mound and displayed a fastball that rested between 89-91 mph. This was just his second appearance since undergoing Tommy John elbow ligament transplant surgery on May 8.
Cox used the term "filthy" when describing Moylan's performance against the Phillies.
"[Moylan] feels great," Cox said. "I ask him every minute if there's any pain in his arm at all, and he says it absolutely feels great."
Unfortunately for Moylan, his Australian buddy Phil Stockman once again finds himself dealing with an injury that could sideline him for an extended period. Whenever he extends his left leg during a delivery, the 6-foot-8 right-handed reliever feels a sensation that extends all the way down his leg.
The oft-injured Stockman believes he might be dealing with an ailment that will require surgery. He will gain better indication after undergoing an MRI exam later this week. His long string of health problems began after tearing his left hamstring in 2006.
"It's frustrating for me to be hurt," Stockman said. "But it's the same problem. I've been rehabbing it for two years. I've tried everything and done everything the Braves have asked me to do rehab-wise, and it's still there. So there's nothing I can do to get the problem right. So now, I guess it's up to them to go in there and get the problem right."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.