Schafer to undergo surgery on ailing left elbow

March 13th, 2017

JUPITER, Fla. -- 's pursuit of reaching the Majors again -- this time, as a pitcher -- has hit a roadblock, as the Cardinals announced on Tuesday that Schafer will undergo left elbow surgery on Friday.

Clarity on whether Schafer will require a complete reconstruction of his ulnar collateral ligament (Tommy John surgery) or a ligament repair will be determined once team doctor George Paletta looks in Schafer's elbow. Either procedure would likely take Schafer out of competition for 2017, though a ligament repair would offer him the best chance of being ready to pitch by the start of next Spring Training.

It's the same procedure that and Mitch Harris had last summer. Both are pitching uninhibited this spring.

The Cards were intrigued by the flexibility that Schafer could offer as a two-way player, and they brought him into camp to see how that could work. The 30-year-old converted to pitching last season after logging time in the Majors as a position player in six of the previous seven seasons.

Incidentally, it was the growing list of injuries he endured as an outfielder that prompted Schafer to make the switch. He has landed on the disabled list six times (with six different injuries) since breaking into the Majors with the Braves in 2009.

Schafer posted a 3.83 ERA in 40 games as a pitcher with the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate in 2016. This spring, he allowed four runs over 3 2/3 innings, while also getting periodic at-bats and time in the outfield.

After his last two outings, however, Schafer complained of discomfort in his left forearm. That prompted the Cardinals to send Schafer out for an MRI, which was reviewed by the team's medical staff and revealed a compromised ligament.

The Cards will provide an update on Friday as to what procedure Schafer underwent and his expected time of recovery.