Atlanta Braves prospect Jordan Schafer says he hopes his play on the field will answer questions about his rapid rise through the minors when he returns from a 50-game suspension for using human growth hormone, according to a published report.
"I know what kind of player I am," Schafer said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I know my work ethic, how my workouts are in the offseason. I know the truth. But if I go out and I'm 2-for-20, people are going to go 'See, it was that.' I know what I'm going to go through. I'm mentally prepared for that. I just have to go out and take care of business. If I go out and play well, it'll all go away."
Schafer said he could not comment when asked if he used HGH, according to the newspaper. Nor would he say if he's pursuing an appeal or legal action.
"It might come out one day but as far as right now, it sucks, but I'm stuck in a spot where I have to say no comment and move on," Schafer said, according to the report. "It's a lot more complicated than people think."
Schafer enjoyed a meteoric rise through the Braves' system in 2007, a year after hitting .240 in Class A ball. He led the minor leagues with 176 hits in 136 games for the Braves' Class A teams in Rome and Myrtle Beach, batting .312 with 74 extra-base hits. He went from the 27th-ranked prospect in the Braves' system to the club's No. 1 prospect. He was projected to arrive in the Braves' big-league outfield in 2009.
Now, he's due to miss one-third of Double-A Mississippi's games this season.
"It's a big loss," Schafer said, according to the report. "But I'm in a position where I'm stuck with this now. I really just have to try to maintain and try to get better, try to move on."
With his suspension due to end May 31, Schafer is working out with players in the Braves' extended spring training camp in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. He's looking forward to his return, even with the knowledge he's going to be watched carefully and harassed in visitors' parks.
"I know I have that label right now and people have a lot of questions about me, but hopefully by the way they see I come back and play that it's an unfair label," Schafer said, according to the report.