Schafer picked up three hits and a season-high four RBIs in Thursday's 11-5 win over the Royals in 10 innings, and he has been a key contributor offensively while batting down in the order.
He's hitting .328/.411/.438 with five doubles, one triple, nine RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 21 games, entering Friday. It's a major improvement on his .163/.256/.213 line in 63 games with the Braves.
"He's been big at the bottom because you want the lineup to roll over," Gardenhire said. "We're just letting him play. We just want to see what he can do. I think he's comfortable here. He's getting a great opportunity because he's not playing for a day and sitting for two. He's playing every day and getting consistent at-bats."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.