Braves suspend AWOL Aybar indefinitely

Updated: April 19, 2007, 11:47 PM ET
Associated Press

Willy Aybar
Aybar

ATLANTA -- Willy Aybar was suspended indefinitely by the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night after the utility infielder failed to report for their game against the Chicago Cubs. Aybar will meet with baseball officials in Boston on Friday.

Aybar, on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right hand, was suspended for three games after he did not show up for treatment. The suspension was due to end Wednesday, when the Braves were back in town to begin a two-game series with the Cubs, but Aybar was still missing.

"Willy is not here," Braves general manager John Schuerholz said. "We want all our players to be here. That's not unreasonable, is it? But he's not here, and so that's a problem."

Braves manager Bobby Cox had no answers.

"Haven't seen him," Cox said to a reporter. "Have you seen him? He's supposed to come into my office and have a chat."

The suspension was announced during the game.

Schuerholz said Aybar's suspension without pay continues as long as he's away without permission.

"It's fair to say that," Schuerholz said.

When asked if Aybar faced new disciplinary measures, Schuerholz said, "Not new, just extended. ... Stay tuned."

Braves backup catcher Brayan Pena said he hasn't talked with Aybar in a week.

"I don't know what happened, what his excuse is," Pena said. "Hopefully he's all right."

The Braves acquired Aybar last season in a trade that sent another utility infielder, Wilson Betemit, to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Aybar was expected to be the top backup for third baseman Chipper Jones.

Pete Orr and Chris Woodward are the team's current backups at third base, shortstop and second base.

The 24-year-old Aybar did not accompany the team to Washington for games Monday and Tuesday.

Aybar hit .280 with four homers and 30 RBIs in a combined 243 at-bats for the Dodgers and Braves last season.

Aybar was slow to recover from the hand injury in spring training, ending any hopes of competing for a starting job at second base. He opened the season on the disabled list.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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