07/30/12 8:17 PM ET
After stint on bench, Schafer has clear focus
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
"I'm just trying to get back going in the right direction," he said. "I needed a couple of days off to clear my head a little bit and just try to put things back together."
Schafer hit .276 in April, but has fallen off each month since -- hitting .247 in May, .176 in June and .175 in July entering Monday's game. That being said, Schafer believes the final two months of the season are going to be big for him to gain some momentum going into the offseason.
"I just have to go out and play hard and put together good at-bats," he said. "As rough a year as I've had, I'm still fifth in the league in stolen bases, and I've probably had 100-150 less at-bats than most everybody [ahead of him].
"There's still a lot of positives on defense. I just need to be consistent at the plate, and I just need at-bats consistently against lefties and righties, and hopefully that will get better."
Versatile Wallace excited to be back in Majors
MILWAUKEE -- Brett Wallace was fully aware Astros fans had been clamoring for him to be called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City since Carlos Lee was traded to the Marlins on July 4, but Wallace tried to focus on the task at hand and stay productive.
When the Astros traded Chris Johnson to the D-backs on Sunday, the fans -- and Wallace -- got their wish. Wallace joined the club Monday in Milwaukee, where he was put into the cleanup hole. Wallace hit .300 with 16 homers and 57 RBIs in 86 games in Triple-A this year.
"People have been very supportive on Twitter," Wallace said. "It's awesome to have that support from the fans, and I'm excited to be back and looking forward to getting out there. Honestly, I just tried to keep my head down and keep working. You [can't] get caught up in trying to play GM."
Wallace appeared in 11 games for the Astros earlier this year when Lee was on the disabled list, and since Wallace was sent back down, he was hitting .352 at Oklahoma City. He's also seen time at shortstop, appearing in nine games at the position. The Astros plan to play him at first or third base, but he could fill in at shortstop.
"When we got back from the [All-Star] break, Marwin [Gonzalez] wasn't able to play the first day back and they asked me if I was comfortable trying it, and I did," Wallace said. "We kept winning games when I was playing there. I'm obviously willing to do whatever it takes for us to win."
Wallace said he hadn't played shortstop since early in his high school career, and he credited Angel Sanchez with helping him get comfortable at the position.
A year later, Martinez recalls big league debut
MILWAUKEE -- Monday marked the one-year anniversary of the Major League debut of Astros outfielder J.D. Martinez, who was called up when the club traded Hunter Pence to the Phillies. Martinez, called up from Double-A, pinch-hit in the eighth inning and hit an 0-1 double off of the Brewers' Marco Estrada at Miller Park.
Coincidentally, the Astros were facing the Brewers at Miller Park on Monday, with Martinez in the lineup facing -- you guessed it -- Estrada, who was starting for Milwaukee.
"I was nervous, excited, there was a lot of adrenaline," Martinez said about his Major League debut. "I was shaking in the box because of the adrenaline."
Martinez took a curveball away for a strike before crushing an Estrada fastball down the middle for a double to center field to score Humberto Quintero. Martinez wound up driving in 28 runs in August, but his career has been a mixed bag since.
With a year under his belt, he entered Monday hitting .256 with 17 homers and 88 RBIs in 147 career games.
"There's been ups and downs, but it's been fun and I've been learning," he said. "That's the biggest thing, is trying to get better. You can learn something every day."