High praise for Escobar

Sporting a padded batting glove on his injured left hand, third baseman Brett Lawrie took batting...

Sporting a padded batting glove on his injured left hand, third baseman Brett Lawrie took batting practice Wednesday with class-A Dunedin. Lawrie's next step would be game action.(EDDIE MICHELS/Photo)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:01 PM ET

The best player for the Blue Jays this season has been Jose Bautista by a wide margin.

But the No. 2 player on that list is a player who doesn’t get a lot of ink — shortstop Yunel Escobar. At the plate he ranks first among AL shortstops in OBP (.365) and is third in average (.291). Overall, he has 26 extra-base hits, including nine home runs, has walked 38 times and struck out just 41 times. Defensively, he is making all the plays and makes the hard ones effortlessly.

“With Yunel you realize the value of having a good shortstop,” general manager Alex Anthopoulos said.

“He’s had a wonderful year. He’s arguably the best shortstop in the American League. Asdrubal Cabrera (Cleveland) has had a great year (as has Detroit’s Jhonny Peralta) but I’d put Yunel right there as far as the total package.

“I know I’m going to be biased towards our own guys. He’s been great defensively, he’s just so sound.”

ON THE MEND

Injured 3B Brett Lawrie, who is rehabbing in Dunedin, took another step towards being called up by the Jays when he took batting practice with the class-A Blue Jays on Wednesday.

Lawrie, who suffered a broken bone in the back of his left hand when hit by a pitch on May 31 while playing for triple-A Las Vegas, could make a rehab start with Dunedin later in the week. He is expected to join the Jays at the beginning of August.

YANKEE DOODLE DANDY

Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson is having a tremendous season having hit 25 home runs and if he continues on the same pace will have no problem cracking the 40-homer plateau.

If he does so, he will become the first Yankees outfielder to hit 40 or more home runs since Reggie Jackson did so in 1980.

Despite the franchise being referred to as the Bronx Bombers, if Granderson hits 40 homers he will become just the sixth outfielder in Yankees history to do so, the others being Jackson, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. That’s pretty good company.


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