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Schafer day to day with lower back strain

Braves outfielder exits after four-hit, three-steal day vs. Mets

ATLANTA -- Jordan Schafer had already constructed his most impressive effort of the season before a lower back strain forced him to exit during the seventh inning of Monday afternoon's 13-5 win over the Mets.

Before feeling his back tighten and spasm, Schafer had matched a season high with four hits and tied a career high with three stolen bases. As he spoke to reporters after the game, he said he was confident he would be in Tuesday's starting lineup.

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"When I tried to run there, initially, I wanted to take off," Schafer said. "If I had felt good, I probably would have gone to second. It just kind of tightened up on me. I've got a knot there right now."

Schafer felt discomfort when he swung and missed the first pitch he saw in the seventh inning. His back tightened up a little more when he concluded the at-bat with a line drive to center field. After he reached first base, he was replaced by pinch-runner Elliot Johnson, who remained in the game to play right field.

"I think he just got some back spasms there in the middle of his back," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I don't think it's anything serious about him, so we'll check with him tomorrow."

Schafer's four hits matched the season-best performance he had recorded on April 10 in Miami. He stole second base after recording singles in each of the three at-bats he collected through the first four innings. His three stolen bases matched the career-best performance he recorded while with the Astros on April 10, 2012, against the Braves.

"I'm not on the bases for decoration," Schafer said. "If I get on there, I'm trying to go as fast as I can. I'm not trying to stand there and wait around."

With Jason Heyward sidelined for at least a couple more weeks with a fractured jaw, the Braves are relying on Schafer to serve as a catalyst in the leadoff role. Since recording three hits in the first 34 at-bats he registered after coming off the disabled list earlier this month, Schafer has gone 11-for-34 and provided tremendous defense in the outfield.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for

Atlanta Braves, Jordan Schafer