By Danny Knobler
The Braves have acquired center fielder Michael Bourn from the Astros.
After starting out looking for a big outfield bat (the Braves were one of the teams most interested in Carlos Beltran), the Braves shifted their focus some after putting two center fielders (Jordan Schafer, Nate McLouth) on the disabled list. Bourn, regarded by some as the fastest player in baseball, should help.
In return for the 28-year-old Bourn, who leads the National League with 39 steals, the Astros get Schafer and three minor-league pitchers, Brett Oberholtzer, Paul Clemens and Juan Abreu. Thus, the Braves were able to add an outfielder without surrendering any of their top pitching prospects (as they would have had to do to get Beltran, Hunter Pence or Carlos Quentin). The Astros also included cash to pay part of Bourn's $4.4 million contract.
Bourn will be under Braves control through next year, when he can become a free agent.
Schafer was once considered one of the Braves' top prospects, but he has mostly struggled in the big leagues, with a .223 career batting average and .613 OPS. The Braves put him on the DL this week with a chip fracture in his left middle finger.
"Michael Bourn is a perfect fit for our club, which focuses on speed and defense to match up with our strong pitching," Braves general manager Frank Wren said in a statement.
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