Escobar remains out of Braves' starting lineup

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escobar throwing.jpgDave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes that Braves shortstop Yunel Escobar is out of the starting lineup for a third straight game Sunday with a strained left abductor. 

Veteran manager Bobby Cox has hinted at the idea of Escobar landing on the 15-day disabled list, but a that all depends on how well the infielder responds to treatment over the next two or three days.  If he shows little progress and is still unavailable by the middle of next week, a short stint on the DL would probably be for the best. 

Omar Infante is filling in for Escobar and managed three hits during Saturday’s game against the Astros.  The Braves might also call up Triple-A infielder Brandon Hicks.  Escobar, 27, is batting just .215 with a .295 on-base percentage through 22 games this year.  He has zero home runs, two stolen bases and eight RBI.

Report: José Ramírez diagnosed with knee contusion

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Indians third baseman José Ramírez had to be carted off the field in the top of the third inning of Sunday afternoon’s Cactus League game agaisnt the White Sox. Ramírez fouled a pitch off of his leg during an at-bat against pitcher Sean Nolin.

MLB.com’s Mandy Bell reports that Ramírez was diagnosed with a left knee contusion after he was taken for X-rays. The X-rays were negative, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Ramírez, 26, finished third in AL MVP Award voting last season, batting .270/.387/.552 with 39 home runs, 105 RBI, 110 runs scored, and 34 stolen bases across 698 plate appearances. He was worth 7.9 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference. If Ramírez lands on the injured list, that would obviously be a huge loss for the Indians, despite being the overwhelming favorites in the AL Central entering the season.

The Indians will already start the season without second baseman Jason Kipnis and shortstop Francisco Lindor, though both are expected to return before the end of April. The infield is in rough shape at the moment.