Cox won’t say when Escobar will return to lineup
By DAVID O'BRIEN
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Shortstop Yunel Escobar was out of the lineup for the second consecutive game Saturday, and the official reason given by the Braves was a strained hip flexor that has bothered him off and on for the past month.
While no one doubted that Escobar was hurt, the consensus in and around the Braves clubhouse was that he would have played Saturday if it were up to him.
It was not up to him.
Manager Bobby Cox declined to comment, but the Braves are frustrated by Escobar’s immature behavior. Most recently, he mouthed an expletive toward the scorekeeper in the press box after being charged with an error in Thursday’s loss to the Yankees, an incident caught by the TV cameras on the game broadcast.
Escobar, 26, pouted in the aftermath of that play and appeared uninterested for the rest of the inning. Bench coach Chino Cadahia laid into him between innings, letting him know that the behavior was unacceptable.
Escobar played the rest of the game, but hasn’t played since. Cox wouldn’t say when he will be back in the lineup.
The Braves are unquestionably a lesser team without Escobar, a .300 career hitter with 88 extra-base hits (22 homers) and a .367 on-base percentage in 292 games since reaching the majors in June 2007.
He has batted .292 with seven homers and 39 RBIs this season, including .307 with 12 RBIs in his past 17 games. But he also has had some costly lapses in concentration and five errors in that 17-game span.