Matt Williams explained recently that Yunel Escobar was likely to be sore due to all the work the infielder was doing to adjust to his new position at second base after years at short.
"I would imagine that he'll be sore as we get through this because it's turning a different direction than he's turned normally playing shortstop," Williams said when asked about the challenges the 32-year-old faced in making the transition.
Escobar was scratched from the Grapefruit League opener with what Williams described as "general soreness" and before yesterday's game against the Atlanta Braves, Williams provided an update, telling reporters that the Nats' new second baseman would see a doctor.
Williams said Escobar was dealing with "some stiffness" in his back.
"'He’s going to see our doctor today, see where he’s at,'" Williams told reporters, including Washington Post writer Chelsea Janes.
"'He’s been working hard. Extra stuff, taking all his BP and everything, so we’ll see what the doc sees today. He’s been a little bit delayed the past couple days. But we’ll get back today and evaluate and see where we’re at.'"
When Williams met with reporters today, before the first televised game of the Spring, he said Escobar has actually suffered a Grade 1 strain of the left oblique:
#Nats Manager Matt Williams said Yunel Escobar has a Grade 1 L oblique strain. He'll be shut down 7-10 days. Expected ready for Opening Day.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 7, 2015
Escobar told the Washington Post's James Wagner earlier this morning that his back already felt better, and it was, in fact, tied to the increased reps at second base as he adjusts to the position:
Yunel Escobar says back feels better. Simply a muscle issue because of the extra reps & turning at second. Will rest for 3-4 more days.— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) March 7, 2015
In his eighth major league season in 2014, Escobar struggled defensively at short and put up a .258/.324/.340 line at the plate with 18 doubles and seven home runs in 529 plate appearances over which he was worth +0.2 fWAR.