Yunel Escobar Still Ailing With Elbow Injury; Could Be Shut Down For '11?

By Thom Tsang

Yunel Escobar was only expected to miss a few games.

At least, that was the thinking based on the initial assessment of his current injury, a bruised elbow that the Blue Jays shortstop suffered 10 days ago in Baltimore after being hit by a pitch. But now with just 9 games remaining on the ’11 schedule, the swelling in Escobar’s elbow still hasn’t fully subsided, and the team could well be considering shutting the shortstop for the rest of the season.

It seems that the injury has been a little more…nagging than first thought. According to manager John Farrell, “there’s still some swelling, the overall range of motion is not 100 percent yet.” And so the day-to-day waiting game that was expected to end prior to last weekend will continue this week, and more than likely through the bluebirds’ final homestand of the season, and really, there’s no reason at all for the team to bring him back unless he is 100% healthy and ready for game speed.

This is where I think a shut down might be beneficial for both the team and the player. Escobar isn’t exactly the most durable of players ; in fact, his career has been littered myriad of injuries, and his durability was one of the major concerns that the Braves had when they finally decided to cut bait with the otherwise talented shortstop. With the team having signed Escobar through the next two seasons, there’s little need to bring him back into action with any nagging injuries. This is a player who has missed at least 15 games due to injury in each of his last 3 seasons, and the Blue Jays might do well in trying to preserve their investment for the duration of his contract.

If Escobar doesn’t show significant improvement over the next 24 hours or so, it’ll be a somewhat bittersweet end (from a home fan perspective) to what has otherwise been a great season for the shortstop, who has bounced back very nicely – putting up top-5 numbers in WAR, OBP, and leading the league’s shortstops in walk % – after a poor 2010 season between the Braves and the Blue Jays.

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