Schafer (forearm) said Sunday that he's made a full recovery from surgery last spring to repair a torn ligament, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

It was initially feared that Schafer, who transitioned to relief pitching in 2016 after performing poorly at the plate during his five seasons as a major-league outfielder, would require Tommy John surgery after suffering from forearm issues last spring, but the damage didn't prove to be as severe as expected. The procedure to repair a ligament still ended up sidelining Schafer for much of the 2017 campaign, though the 31-year-old returned late in the season to play DH and outfield in a handful of games for two of the Cardinals' minor-league affiliates. Schafer resumed mound work about a month after the season concluded and shouldn't face many restrictions in the spring in his quest to win a spot in the big-league bullpen as a non-roster invitee. Though his hitting has left much to be desired throughout his career, Schafer's excellent speed has always made him a serviceable pinch runner and outfield defender. Having that skill might give him an edge over some of the pitchers he'll be competing with for bullpen jobs if all other things are relatively equal.

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