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Versatile Escobar making himself invaluable

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CLEVELAND -- The Twins have known that Eduardo Escobar can play almost any defensive position, but in the last week, Escobar has shown he can swing a good bat as well.

Since April 20, Escobar is hitting .406 (13-for-32), including the game-winning home run in Monday's win over the Indians and an RBI double during a stalled ninth-inning comeback Tuesday.

Starting at left field Wednesday, Escobar has become indispensible for a team dealing with multiple injuries. Escobar was subbed in at shortstop in Monday's win, and he started at third base Tuesday.

"For me, I think I am ready whatever position," Escobar said. "When I can play, I'm going to play. I can play left field, center field, infield, catcher too. That's OK. I like to play."

Escobar has endeared himself to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire not only with his can-do attitude, but also with his work ethic.

"He goes out and shags (fly balls) and does all of his work all of the time," Gardenhire said. "He takes his groundballs and goes into the outfield and runs 'em down, always in early batting practice. He's got the most experience of any of the guys, so he'll be OK."

The way Escobar is hitting, Gardenhire is finding ways to keep Escobar involved. Monday, when Escobar entered in the seventh inning, is the only game in Minnesota's last five that Escobar hasn't started.

"You can put him anywhere, keep wanting to find places for his swing," Gardenhire said. "He can be your everyday shortstop. He fields the ball well enough. He's got a really strong arm. …

"You need versatility, and he brings that to us. He's a pretty uplifting kid, big smile, runs around. Really likes baseball, and it shows."

Stephen Ellsesser is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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