Jordan Schafer could return Sunday

NEW YORK -- Atlanta Braves outfielder Jordan Schafer is day to day with a small sinus fracture after fouling a bunt off his face.

Schafer was not in the starting lineup Saturday night against the New York Mets, but the Braves said there is no serious damage to his nose or eyes and he will not need to go on the disabled list.

"I feel very fortunate," Schafer said. "I thought something was seriously wrong last night."

He could be available as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement, and manager Fredi Gonzalez said he might put Schafer back in the lineup Sunday night.

"I'd like to get him in there as soon as you can, you know?" Gonzalez said. "If he feels good, maybe tomorrow."

Schafer was taken to a hospital Friday night after a frightening scene at Citi Field, but tests brought good news for the Braves, who already are missing injured outfielders Jason Heyward and Nate McLouth.

Joe Mather started in center field Saturday.

Schafer was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett on May 24 and was batting .229 with one RBI in 35 at-bats. The Braves say he has a small, non-displaced sinus fracture on the right side of his face, and he will take over-the-counter medicine and antibiotics to prevent a sinus infection.

Schafer was at Citi Field on Saturday and had a black-and-blue mark under his right eye. He said ice has helped the swelling go down.

"I don't know how, but everything is OK," Schafer said. "Thank God."

The leadoff batter was hurt in the fifth inning Friday night when he squared around to bunt. Jonathon Niese's pitch tailed in toward Schafer, and the ball deflected off his bat and hit him squarely in the face.

Schafer was down for about a minute as a Braves trainer attended to him. The center fielder was assisted toward the dugout with a towel pressed tight to his face. He looked down and saw blood all over his batting gloves, and couldn't tell if his teeth were loose.

But by Saturday, he felt much better.

"I'm good," Schafer said, adding that he'd like to play Sunday. "I don't have a headache anymore."

Eric Hinske took over the at-bat and struck out, then hit a tiebreaking homer off Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth inning of Atlanta's 6-3 victory.

Schafer said he slept fine Friday night and he's not in any pain. But he hasn't watched a replay.

"I don't know if I want to see it," he said.

In other news, Gonzalez watched right-hander Brandon Beachy throw 60 pitches in a side session. It was Beachy's third bullpen session since he was injured, but he said it was the first time he really cranked it up. He said he felt perfectly normal and hopes to throw batting practice in a few days.

"Felt smooth," Beachy said. "It felt good to be back up there again."

Beachy has been on the disabled list since May 14 with a strained muscle on his left side. He will need to make at least two or three minor league rehab appearances before returning to the rotation, so he might be back by the end of the month, Gonzalez said.