Yunel Escobar shut down for 7-10 days with Grade 1 oblique strain

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Yunel Escobar is expected to be the Nationals’ regular second baseman this season, but he’ll now be a bit behind in preparation for Opening Day. Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that Escobar has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain of his left oblique.

Escobar, who was acquired from the Athletics over the winter, will be shut down for the next 7-10 days. Oblique injuries are notoriously tricky, but Nationals manager Matt Williams believes the injury is relatively minor and that he’ll still have enough time to get ready for the start of the season.

“He’s an athlete, and he’ll be fine doing it,” Williams said. “From what we have seen thus far, he’s able to handle everything. Does it put him behind the 8-ball a little bit? Sure. He doesn’t get a chance to work with those guys as much as he ordinarily would. But if he’s 7-10 days down, he’s still going to have a couple weeks of games in spring to get prepared. He’ll be fine.”

Escobar, 32, batted .258/.324/.340 with seven home runs and 39 RBI over 137 games with the Rays last season. He has primarily played shortstop in his career, but he’s making the move to second base with Washington.