Nationals News: Yunel Escobar out with Grade One Oblique Strain
By David Balick
Washington Nationals Manager Matt Williams informed reporters this morning that new second baseman Yunel Escobar, will be inactive the next week or so with a grade one oblique strain.
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Williams told reporters, “It’s very light, but we still have to shut him down for a few days to make sure that it gets out of there (h/t Chris Johnson, MASN.com).”
Escobar is expected to be the Nationals starting second baseman on opening day. He was originally slated to start Thursday’s game, but was scratched from the lineup due to soreness in his back. On Friday, Escobar met with a team doctor where it was then discovered that he had this minor strain. While all injuries are reason for concern, this is a very minor injury and shouldn’t be much of an issue going forward.
The strain may be a result of all the added work Escobar has put in so far in spring to become familiar with his new position. Escobar has spent most of his career as a shortstop, but is now making the switch to second base. Reports from Florida are that Escobar has been putting in extra work before and after practice with teammates Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond to be sure the group is ready come Opening day.
This strain simply means a setback in Escobar’s schedule. Over the next week, he will not be allowed to participate in any physical activity. His job will be to rest up. Williams admitted that this will set him back, but said:
"“We would anticipate him being back and playing in spring training games and ready for Opening Day.” (h/t Chris Johnson MASN.com)"
Since Escobar has been inactive since Thursday, it is possible he is back on the field as early as Wednesday.
In the meantime, Danny Espinosa is playing in his first spring training game this afternoon against the St. Louis Cardinals. While it is not expected to be much of a competition for the second base job, Espinosa is hoping that hitting from only the right side of the plate, will lead to more success, and possibly a starting role.
Another second base hopeful is former Braves star, Dan Uggla. Uggla played in his first game yesterday where he went 1-2 with a single, a walk, and an RBI. While he is a long shot to make the team, Uggla is hoping to put together a strong spring and find his swing from the mid-2000s.
While Nats fans made be worried about this early setback to Escobar, Nats camp doesn’t seemed to be too concerned. If everything goes accordingly, Escobar will be starting at second base at Nats Park, on April 6th.