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Suspended infielder to meet with officials Friday

4/19/2007 - MLB Willy Aybar Atlanta Braves + more

ATLANTA -- Suspended Braves infielder Willy Aybar will meet with baseball officials in Boston on Friday.

After Aybar failed to report this week for treatment on his
sprained right hand, the Braves suspended the 24-year-old
indefinitely. Aybar's agent, Luis Valdez, indicated on Thursday
that his client was battling a substance abuse problem.

"We're aware of where he is," Braves spokesman Brad Hainje
said. "He is in Boston. He is going to meet tomorrow with the
Major League Baseball folks. We are aware of where he is and what
his next step is going to be."

Valdez, who did not return phone calls from The Associated
Press, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Aybar, who drove
to Boston to spend time with a family member, had problems with
alcohol and drugs.

"He's embarrassed for himself, for his family," Valdez told
the newspaper.

Aybar, who went on the 15-day disabled list March 23, earned a
three-day suspension by failing to report for rehab sessions on his
sprained right hand. On Wednesday, Aybar never showed up for a
scheduled meeting with manager Bobby Cox.

Cox and general manager John Schuerholz declined to comment on
Aybar, who was acquired last July 28 with reliever Danys Baez in
the trade that sent Wilson Betemit to Los Angeles.

Aybar hit .280 in 79 games last year, .313 in 36 games with the
Braves. He never had a chance to win a full-time job after Cox
indicated that Kelly Johnson would start at second base and lead
off.