Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar will likely miss a few games with a contusion on his left hand, but it could have been a lot worse. MLB.com's Owen Perkins reported that Escobar took a Jon Garland fastball to the hand in his first plate appearance against the Colorado Rockies last night and was forced to leave the game, fearing a break. A grateful Escobar returned to Coors Field later in the night when X-rays came back negative.
"I thought I broke my hand," Escobar said, with bench coach Dave Martinez translating. "It swelled up fairly fast, and I thought it was broken. I was very grateful and happy that it wasn't broken, and I'm going to try to get back on the field as soon as possible."
The Garland fastball ran away from him during the second inning, striking Escobar directly on the back of the hand as he started the initial motion of his swing. He immediately dropped the bat and walked away from the plate, obviously in a lot of pain. The Rockies staff examined Escobar for a couple of minutes on the field before deciding to take him out and replace him with Ryan Roberts, who stayed in the game at second with Ben Zobrist moving over to short. Rays manager Joe Maddon said that Escobar would miss at least two days:
"It's definitely two-to-three days that he cannot play," manager Joe Maddon said. "So we just have to manipulate."
In addition to Roberts, the Rays have two more middle infield options on their bench in Kelly Johnson (second) and Sean Rodriguez (shortstop), with regular second baseman Zobrist experienced at both positions, having also started 166 games at short in his career.
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