ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar was kept out of the starting lineup after serving a three-game suspension for wearing eye-black displaying an anti-gay slur written in Spanish during a game last weekend against Boston.

Escobar, who served the penalty during a three-game series against the New York Yankees, was eligible to return for Friday night's game at Tampa Bay, but was not in manager John Farrell's lineup.

"When we met earlier today it became increasing clear during that discussion that he needs another day to get back and be ready to play a major league game," Farrell said. "It's not so much staying in shape or baseball activity, it's just about how he's dealing with the fallout of what he did. He's remorseful for what took place, and as a result he needs another day to get things in line."

Farrell said Escobar could be back in the lineup Saturday night.

"It's expected he'd be ready to play (Saturday)," Farrell said.

Escobar apologized and said he meant it to be a joke. He will take part in an outreach initiative to promote tolerance to others based on their sexual orientation, and participate in a sensitivity training program.

"He understands that he made a mistake," Farrell said. "Consequences exist for every action, and these are the consequences that he's dealing with. He's coming to grips with the fallout and the backlash that's taken place. He's accepting responsibility."