"It's exciting," Schafer said. "I had a lot of fun in Atlanta. We had a great clubhouse there and a lot of guys I'm close with. But I think a change of scenery was needed and I'm extremely excited about being here and getting a chance to play."
Schafer, 27, was hitting .163/.256/.213 with four doubles, 15 stolen bases and two RBIs in 63 games with Atlanta this season before being designated for assignment on Friday. He's a career .222/.307/.304 hitter with 88 stolen bases in 110 attempts in parts of five seasons with the Braves and Astros.
Schafer, who hits from the left side and can play all three outfield spots, was once a top prospect in the Braves organization but has yet to translate his success at the plate in the Minor Leagues to the Majors.
"I feel defensively I'm extremely good and as far as stealing bases, I've been extremely successful, but to this point in my career I've underachieved at the plate," Schafer said. "There's been times where I've been very good but then I'll get knocked off by something, whether it's injury. So I'm hoping I can back on track here and be consistent."
He missed more than a month with a stress fracture in his right ankle late last season, and he saw his playing time diminish this year because of the crowded outfield in Atlanta. But the Twins are hoping he can find his swing in Minnesota now that he can get more playing time.
"We haven't seen much but we know he's a speed guy with some stolen bases in his career," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We just want to get him on the field. We're leaving Santana out there [in center] today, but ultimately this will give us a chance to get Santana in the infield a little bit and mix some people around."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. Alex Smith is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.