Blue Jays Escobar sits another game on Farrell decision: Griffin
ST. PETERSBURG - At around 1:20 p.m. Friday afternoon Blue Jays manager John farrell sent a text message in reponse to a question of whether Yunel Escobar, suspended for the previouus three games, would be in the starting lineup vs. the Rays.
"Yes," was the simple one-word answer.
At around 3:45 p.m.when the Jays' clubhouse at Tropicana Field opened to media, there was no lineup posted, which there usually is, and Farrell's office door was closed.
Inside was the manager, plus Escobar, plus coach Luis Rivera, plus a few other members of the Jays' front office staff. Minutes later the meeting was adjourned and Farrell walked purposely by in the middle of the clubhouse. "He's not in the lineup," he said without breaking stride.Farrell spoke at his usual time as the full team stretched on the field.
“When we met earlier today, it became increasingly clear during that discussion that he needs another day to get back and be ready to play a major league game," Farrell said rather cryptically. “It wasn't his choice. It became very clear through our discussions, all that has taken place, all that has potentially anticipated going forward, that he needs another day."
Escobar sat and chatted with Jays' media later in the afternoon, using his usual interpreter Luis Rivera, who, in fact, would have been far better than the one provided for him at the press conference in New York on Tuesday. Was he lookig for his name in the lineup?
“I always come to the game thinking that I'm going to be in the lineup," Escobar said. "But after I spent some time in the clubhouse there were other things going through my mind. It was better for me not to play tonight.
“I'm living with a tough situation. I put myself into it. I know it's going to take a little while. I spent three days and today. I just took groundballs yesterday and took groundballs today. I'm going to start getting my mind back in the game today so I can play a major-league game."
Escobar flew from New York to Florida the morning after the press conference and has been waiting for the team with minimal in the way of baseball activity.
“It's been real tough. I haven't slept well in the last three or four days," Escobar said. "I've been receiving a lot of calls from friends and family and they're giving me support. Things have been hard for me knowing that I made a mistake and I hurt some people. Things have been real hard for me right now."
The question becomes what changed in the three hours between Farrell saying Escobar was in the lineup and then him not being in the lineup. Could it have been Farrell meeting with his player and perhaps feeling the entire lesson had not been learned, the full impact not absorbed and that maybe another game -- this one paid -- would be good for his player.
"I don't think he fully understood the ramifications at the time of doing what he did," Farrell explained of perhaps lingering fallout from the Saturday "man in eye-black" episode. "So all this is a first for him. Regardless of intent and all the things he's expressed, all these experiences and the backlash that's taken place, I can tell you on his part (things) have been unanticipated.
“There's (no follow-up meeting) scheduled tomorrow. It's anticipated and expected he'll be ready to play tomorrow, but if the case exists that he needs another day to get through this we'll be open-minded to that and move on."
Escobar only missed two days of game action in New York and that is not an unusual break for major-league players with minor nicks and scratches that immediately get back into action when they are ready. This was more of a message to Escobar from the manager. Just because you've served your three games does not mean that you have to play.
If there is a lesson there from Farrell, hopefully Escobar will learn from it.
“Consequences exist for every action," Farrell said. "These are the consequences that he's dealing with. That doesn't mean that we're turning a cold shoulder to him. But at the same time he's coming to grips with the fallout and the backlash that's taking place.
"If that means dealing with others in the organization that are available (to hep him from a mental standpoint), if in fact that is determiend to be needed, we'll provide that for him, but we would expect in short order he'll be back on the field."
Once again, the Jays' explanations lead to more questions than they provide answers.