Church suffered a concussion on May 20, after attempting to break up a double play, hitting his head on the knee of Braves shortstop Yunel Escobar. He has appeared in nine of 17 subsequent games, missing the games on Wednesday and Friday nights because of what the club identified as fatigue and "the need to get his legs under him."
But his being unable to pinch-hit was inconsistent with that explanation of his malady. Teammates are worried for him and, one said, hopeful he will be assigned to the disabled list and given an extended opportunity to recover.
"The bottom line," Church said after the game on Friday, "is Willie asked me if I could go, and I said 'No.' That's it."
Church suffered a concussion in Spring Training as well, when he and Marlon Anderson collided while pursuing a fly ball.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.