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Escobar's spring debut cut short by hand issue

MESA, Ariz. -- After four years away, it was not Kelvim Escobar's long-troublesome right shoulder that gave him trouble. This time it was his something else.

Escobar trotted onto the field at HoHoKam Stadium at 3:01 p.m. MT for his first Spring Training appearance since 2009 and only his second appearance in any Major League game since he won 17 games for the Angels in 2007. Fifteen minutes later, he was walking off with Brewers head athletic trainer Dan Wright at his side.

"Out there, he didn't say what hurt," catcher Blake Lalli said. "He just said, 'Not today."

The Brewers announced during the game that Escobar was suffering from a sore elbow, but manager Ron Roenicke said following Milwaukee's 4-3 victory over a Cubs split squad that the trouble spot was Escobar's right hand.

"He didn't feel good strength in his hand, and the ball was coming out funny," Roenicke said. "No elbow, no shoulder. He said it was hand."

Escobar entered for the bottom of the sixth inning and threw ball one to a pinch-hitter, Darnell McDonald, but came back to strike McDonald out looking at a split-fingered changeup, a pitch Escobar would come back to again. Nate Schierholtz followed and took a walk in a six-pitch at-bat that included two balls over Schierholtz's head and two in the dirt, but Escobar moved to within an out of a scoreless inning when Wellington Castillo popped the next pitch to shallow right field.

Scott Hairston followed and worked another walk that included a pair of close pitches inside. Brett Jackson took a first pitch to the ribs and loaded the bases.

When Escobar threw ball one to shortstop Javier Baez, he gave what Lalli termed "the look," and his day was done. Brewers pitching coach Rick Kranitz visited the mound, had a word and immediately signaled to the bullpen. As Escobar walked toward the bench, Wright met him at the foul line.

Earlier in the inning, how was Escobar's stuff?

"It was OK," Lalli said. "What I noticed was that when he was in the zone, they didn't take good swings. But if you ask him, he's probably used to being really good. So he's probably got very high standards."

Said Roenicke: "He threw some good fastballs, but not consistent."

Escobar was transported back to Maryvale Baseball Park while the clubhouse was still closed to reporters.

He has plenty of teammates rooting for a successful comeback.

"I think guys are rooting for him just because they know how good he can be," Lalli said. "You want to win, so yeah, you're rooting for him to be that good. I'm sure he didn't want this to be the outcome today."

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