Escobar could return Monday

Escobar could return Monday

ATLANTA -- Looking for any sort of positive news, the Braves seemingly received some on Sunday afternoon, when they learned that shortstop Yunel Escobar could return to their lineup as early as Monday.

Escobar, who hasn't played since aggravating his strained left shoulder on July 9, was cleared to resume playing after being examined by Dr. Xavier Duralde at Turner Field on Sunday.

After the examination, Escobar took batting practice in the indoor batting cage. This marked the first time he'd even attempted to swing a bat since being pulled from the lineup July 11 in San Diego.

"Right now, the plan is to have him in the lineup on [Monday]," manager Bobby Cox said after the Braves suffered a tough 15-6 loss to the Nationals on Sunday.

Escobar is hitting .286 with six homers and a .355 on-base percentage. Before originally injuring his shoulder while diving back to first base on June 24, the 25-year-old shortstop was hitting .295 with a .375 on-base percentage.

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