Soriano could return to action Sunday

Soriano could return by Sunday

ATLANTA -- Yunel Escobar might not be ready to return to the lineup during this weekend's series against the Nationals, but the Braves could get Rafael Soriano back as soon as Sunday.

Soriano returned to Atlanta from his native Dominican Republic on Friday, and during a meeting with Braves manager Bobby Cox, the right-handed reliever indicated he was ready to end his lengthy stint on the disabled list. He'll test his right elbow during a bullpen session at Turner Field on Saturday and then possibly be activated on Sunday.

"He thinks he's real close to being 100 percent," Cox said of Soriano, whose troublesome elbow has limited him to just nine appearances this year.

Soriano, whose current stint on the disabled list began on June 10, made three recent Minor League rehab appearances in the Dominican Summer League. He was assigned there to allow him to tend to some undisclosed family matters while testing his elbow.

"I feel everything will be all right," said Soriano, whose elbow discomfort began during Spring Training. "I feel good. I feel great."

While Soriano could be activated later this weekend, there's still a chance that Escobar's strained left shoulder could force him to go on the disabled list. Braves general manager Frank Wren said the 25-year-old shortstop would be evaluated over the next couple of days before such a decision is made.

Escobar was scheduled to meet with one of the Braves' doctors after Friday night's series opener against the Nationals. The shoulder strain which he suffered on June 24 and aggravated on July 9 has prevented him from taking batting practice during Thursday's voluntary team workout and again on Friday afternoon.

Escobar hasn't played since July 9, and if he is placed on the disabled list, he could be eligible to return for the July 25 series opener against the Phillies in Philadelphia.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.