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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Rays Injury Update: Yunel Escobar likely done for season after early exit

By on 9/24/2014 08:45:00 AM

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar has probably played his last game of the 2014 season after suffering a knee injury in an awkward home plate collision on Tuesday night. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Escobar sprained his left knee while trying to avoid Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez during a play at the plate in the third inning and had to leave the game. Manager Joe Maddon told Topkin that he didn't expect to have his shortstop for the rest of the year:
"You probably won't see him the rest of the season, honestly,'' manager Joe Maddon said. "I think it's severe enough that even during the (bulk of the) regular season he would not play the rest of this week.''
Escobar, seen below getting tagged out during the play, will be sent for an MRI but Topkin suggested that he was likely to be shut down regardless of the result. The ever-versatile Ben Zobrist came in to play shortstop in Escobar's place, with Brandon Guyer replacing Zobrist in center field.

Normally Escobar makes up for his lack of offensive upside with strong defensive play, but this season his fielding grades poorly and he is below replacement level, per Baseball-Reference. In addition to a negative rating by advanced metrics such as Defensive Runs Saved, he has made 16 errors and has the lowest fielding percentage of his career, at .965. The 31-year-old is signed through 2016, with a 2017 team option, but with Nick Franklin now on the team and Zobrist capable of playing the position, Escobar may not be the full-time shortstop if his defense continues to decline.

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