Saturday, July 08, 2006

Nats Alex Escobar Alive After Given Up for Dead

Washington Nationals center fielder Alex Escobar seems like another player in another time on another planet now, but once upon a time he was so highly prized that the Indians traded no less than superstar Robbie Alomar to the Mets to acquire him. Blessed with speed, power and a cannon for an arm, Escobar was one of those perennial can't-miss, five-tool prospects who was to have served as the cornerstone of the Cleveland outfield for years to come. Then came multiple injuries, mostly to the legs, including a 2001 torn ACL that called for a restructuring of his knee, a procedure so difficult that Escobar's prospects dimmed to the point that he ultimately was released outright. After a number of obscure stops over the past five years, Escobar has a total of three stolen bases and only a handful of plate appearances, and at 27, the luster has long since faded from his star. But look for Nats manager Frank Robinson to give Escobar every chance to demonstrate whether he has anything left, if for no other reason than because of whom he once was, if not for whom he is now.