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Escobar's shoulder keeps him out

Escobar out of lineup after straining shoulder

ATLANTA -- Yunel Escobar's game on Tuesday was actually worse than it appeared.

The Braves' shortstop sustained a strained left shoulder during Tuesday's 4-3 loss and was scratched from the lineup before Wednesday's series finale against the Brewers.

Braves manager Bobby Cox said Escobar is day-to-day and would play against the Blue Jays in the three-game Interleague series that starts Friday. Escobar also missed two starts last weekend with a strained right hip flexor.

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Escobar took grounders and batting practice Wednesday before cutting the session short because of the shoulder discomfort.

"From the moment I woke up this morning, it felt sore," Escobar said through a translator.

The injury occurred when Escobar slid back to the first-base bag to avoid being doubled up in the fourth inning. He was called out by first-base umpire Eric Cooper, and the fiery Cuban slammed his helmet in disagreement and was promptly ejected from the game.

Before being ejected, Escobar had struck out, committed an error, mishandled a relay throw and singled off the leg of Brewers starter Dave Bush.

"He's got the best hands of any infielder I've seen and for him to make two errors was strange," Cox said.

When Escobar began arguing with Cooper at first base, Cox went out to protect his shortstop, but once Escobar slammed his helmet, Cox retreated to the dugout without offering more than a shake of the head.

"He's a great hitter, a great fielder and he's got a great future," Cox said of Escobar. "He's just got to tone down his antics a little bit."

So Escobar's meltdown Tuesday was essentially chalked up to a good learning experience. But to some, being ejected during the fourth inning seemed inexcusable under the circumstances. The Braves already were without slugger Chipper Jones, who missed his fourth straight start with a strained right quadriceps, and could ill-afford another big bat out of their lineup.

But Escobar's competitive nature got the best of him again and the 25-year-old was forced to watch the rest of the game from inside the Braves clubhouse.

"He has played with such passion since the very day we signed him," general manager Frank Wren said. "He's just got to know when to temper that a little bit."

"I'm definitely going to maintain a high level of play," Escobar said. "I'm just not even going to look at an umpire right now."

Omar Infante batted sixth and played shortstop in place of Escobar on Wednesday. With Chipper Jones out of the starting lineup for the fifth straight game, Ruben Gotay played third base and batted second.

Escobar is batting .296 with six homers and 30 RBIs this season, his first full year with the Braves.

Ryan Lavner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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