Escobar scratched from Braves' lineup
Shortstop aggravates left shoulder strain in batting practice
SAN DIEGO -- When Yunel Ecobar ended a week-long absence from the Braves lineup earlier this month, he indicated that he still wasn't sure about his left shoulder. More than a week later, there's still reason to be concerned about the young shortstop's shoulder.
Escobar was scratched from Friday night's lineup after his left shoulder strain provided too much discomfort during batting practice at PETCO Park. Braves manager Bobby Cox said the 25-year-old shortstop's only chance to play the rest of this weekend will come if he's needed solely from a defensive perspective.
The Braves will re-evaluate Escobar during next week's All-Star break, and they are hopeful that he won't need to go on the disabled list.
"It's been bothering him," Cox said. "I hope it's nothing really serious. He's got some issues in there."
Escobar aggravated this shoulder injury while tagging Matt Kemp on a stolen-base attempt during Wednesday night's game at Dodger Stadium.
When asked how he was feeling after Friday night's loss to the Padres, Escobar said "No good."
Escobar originally strained his left shoulder when he had to dive back to first base after getting too far off the bag on a Kelly Johnson lineout during a June 24 game against the Brewers. His ensuring anger got him thrown out of the game. More important, he missed five consecutive games.
In the eight games Escobar had played since returning to the lineup on July 2, he has batted .211 (8-for-38). Providing more reason for concern is the fact that four of those eight hits came during Sunday's 17-inning win over the Astros.
Before suffering the shoulder injury two weeks ago, Escobar was hitting .296 with a .372 on-base percentage. Braves manager Bobby Cox has relied on the Cuban shortstop to serve as a spark near the top of the lineup.
It appeared that Escobar aggravated the shoulder while making his highlight catch with runners on second and third and one out during Sunday's 15th inning. Standing on the edge of the infield grass, he lunged toward his left and remarkably made the game-saving grab on Ty Wigginton's liner. He slowly rose to his feet and seemed to favor his shoulder.
But Escobar recorded hits, including a single in the bottom of the 15th inning, in his final two at-bats on Sunday. He received a cortisone shot on June 30 and indicated the anti-inflammatory medication provided some relief.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.