NEW YORK -- Shortstop Yunel Escobar displayed questionable effort on opposite ends of double-play grounders that hurt his club during its losses to the Phillies on Wednesday and Thursday.
But when manager Bobby Cox explained the construction of his lineup for Friday night's series opener against the Mets, he told reporters that Escobar -- as well as his struggling first baseman, Troy Glaus -- were absent simply because they needed a chance to rest.
With Escobar and Glaus out of the lineup, Cox gave Omar Infante his first start of the season at shortstop and used Eric Hinske as his starting first baseman for the third time this year.
"Infante hasn't played in a long time and Hinske, it's been a while since he played," Cox said.
Though the ever-loyal and supportive Cox has never expressed any displeasure, Escobar drew the ire of some of the Braves' coaches and players when he didn't make a better effort to field a double-play feed delivered by Martin Prado during the Phillies' three-run third inning on Thursday night.
Prado was charged with the error, which prevented Derek Lowe from potentially escaping a bases-loaded, one-out jam without any damage. But it appeared that Escobar could have cleanly fielded the ball, which hit his glove, had he not been preparing to show some flash by making the double-play turn while jumping over the oncoming runner.
The night before, with the bases loaded and just one out in the seventh inning of the 2-0 loss to Roy Halladay, Escobar rapped a sharp grounder that hit the mound and landed in the glove of a diving Chase Utley, who then turned a nifty double play with Juan Castro. The Phils also got some help from Escobar, who was clocked at a pedestrian 4.54 seconds down the first-base line.
When asked if he had been told that he was simply getting a chance to rest, Escobar, who speaks minimal English, shrugged and said, "I don't know nothing."