Escobar set for first home game since suspension

BALTIMORE -- Yunel Escobar is set to make his return to Toronto on Thursday for the first time since receiving a three-game suspension for writing a homophobic slur on his eye-black patches during a game against the Red Sox.

It remains to be seen what type of reaction Escobar will get from the hometown crowd upon his return. He has already apologized multiple times and pledged to take part in community events to bring awareness to the issue, but whether or not he is forgiven ultimately will be up to the fans.

"Yunel is going to go through the things that he stated in response to the suspension, and that's part of the ongoing education that he'll take part in," manager John Farrell said. "That's also part of the reaching out to the group that took offense to his actions. I would hope that he's able to make peace with that in short order and that we all move on from it."

The Blue Jays likely caught a break by heading out on the road immediately after the story broke about Escobar's use of the slur. The club played three games in New York and St. Petersburg before moving onto Baltimore for another four.

There has been no reaction at all to Escobar on the road and there's a strong possibility that enough time has passed that there won't even be much of an uproar at Rogers Centre when the Blue Jays open a four-game series against the Yankees.

"I think just through common reaction when it's most fresh in people's minds there is the potential for a little bit initial backlash," Farrell said, "but it doesn't take away from what took place."