Schafer returns after missing two games with bruised ribs

Schafer returns after missing two games with bruised ribs

CLEVELAND -- Left fielder Jordan Schafer returned to the Twins' lineup Tuesday for their series opener against the Indians.

Schafer sat out Minnesota's previous two games with bruised ribs, but declared himself good to go following an off-day Monday. He batted leadoff for the first time with the Twins with Danny Santana unable to play because of a lower back strain.

"Jordan was swinging the bat really well until he got hurt, so we're going to throw him out there and see how he does," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "When you look at him, he really is the prototype of a leadoff hitter because he can bunt and has speed."

Schafer was at the bottom of the batting order for his first 26 starts with the Twins.

The 28-year-old lefty, claimed off waivers from Atlanta on Aug. 3, has thrived since joining Minnesota. He is batting .322 with a .390 on-base percentage, 10 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 29 games.

Schafer's season statistics, including 63 games with the Braves, are a .247 average with 12 RBIs and 26 steals. He broke into the big leagues in 2009 with Atlanta and also has played for Houston.

"We're taking a long look at him and all the new guys that we've brought in," Gardenhire said. "We've said for years that we need to get more athleticism and more speed on the field because of the ballpark we play in. Jordan has the potential to help us accomplish that."

Brian Dulik is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.