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Escobar out of lineup, could return Saturday

TORONTO -- Yunel Escobar left Sunday's game against the Astros as a precautionary measure due to a mild right hamstring strain.

Though the injury is not considered serious, the Rays shortstop did not start Friday night against the Blue Jays.

"We talked yesterday," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He ran, he ran fine. But we thought it would be wise to not play him today."

Maddon said Escobar could be in the lineup Saturday, possibly as DH against Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle. He also said Escobar could be at shortstop Sunday and, at the very least, "should be there" by Monday.

"We'll see," Maddon said. "... He's available to play. It's one of those things where we consider him so valuable we don't want to push him right now. Later in the season, September, different circumstances, probably would have played."

Using Joel Peralta as a translator, Escobar said the problem is mostly due to tightness, which he feels "every move I make."

Neither Maddon nor Escobar believe Escobar is headed to the disabled list.

"Take it easy," said Escobar when asked about the next step. "They don't want me to rush and miss maybe a month or two. So, they want me to take it easy today. ... I would like to be back as soon as I can, but no time limit right now."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for
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