Daily Dose: Cardinals bring in help for Pujols

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Acquired from Cleveland for Chris Perez plus a player to be named
later, Mark DeRosa jumped right into St. Louis’ cleanup spot Sunday and
went 0-for-3 with a walk hitting behind Albert Pujols. While not a
prototypical cleanup hitter, DeRosa has batted .280/.364/.473 with 34
homers and 43 doubles since the beginning of last year, compared to the
measly .220/.297/.387 produced behind Pujols so far.

He’s a nice pickup for the Cardinals, who can either re-sign him or
take draft pick compensation if he leaves as a free agent. Depending on
the PTBNL the Indians also did fairly well cashing in a guy they
acquired this winter for three mediocre prospects, because Perez is a
23-year-old with a 3.72 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 65 innings as a big
leaguer and should be a quality setup man or closer option.

While the Cardinals help a lineup that beyond Pujols has hit just
.248 with a .381 slugging percentage, here are some other notes from
around baseball …

* Antonio Bastardo has been scratched from his scheduled Wednesday
start with shoulder soreness and has left the team to undergo further
tests, so Philadelphia will call up Carlos Carrasco to fill in. He’s
been the Phillies’ top pitching prospect for years, but Carrasco’s
stats haven’t quite matched the hype with a 4.14 ERA and 239/83 K/BB
ratio in 237 innings between Double-A and Triple-A since 2008.

* Josh Outman’s promising rookie year may be finished after Oakland
transferred him to the 60-day disabled list Sunday. He had been sent to
the 15-day DL last week with a sprained left elbow and there’s
speculation that he may be headed for season-ending Tommy John surgery
that would knock him out into the middle of 2010. He’ll meet with Dr.
James Andrews before any decision is made.

* Adrian Beltre and the Mariners have already decided that he’ll
undergo surgery to remove bone spurs from his left shoulder, but
haven’t settled on an exact date yet. In the meantime he’s still
playing, starting at third base and knocking in a run Sunday, but the
surgery is expected to sideline him for at least a month and take place
at some point this week. Chris Woodward seems like the probable fill
in.

* Xavier Nady had to remove himself from a minor-league rehab game
Thursday after experiencing pain in his partially torn elbow ligament
and reportedly may be headed for Tommy John surgery. While the
operation isn’t as bad for hitters, he’d be finished for this year and
questionable for the first few months of 2010, so the impending free
agent may be done with the Yankees.

AL Quick Hits: Josh Hamilton (abdomen) is expected to start a
rehab assignment Monday at Double-A … Zack Greinke was limited to 6.1
innings Sunday due to a rain delay, but picked up his 10th victory …
Asdrubal Cabrera returned from the disabled list Sunday less than four
weeks after suffering an ugly looking shoulder injury … Francisco
Liriano turned in perhaps his best start of the season Sunday with
seven innings of two-run ball … Aaron Hill went deep twice Sunday and
has already set a career-high with 19 on the year … Adam Kennedy slid
to third base Sunday with Mark Ellis coming off the DL … David Price
gave up just one run in 6.1 innings Sunday, but again struggled with
his control by walking five … Alexei Ramirez went 3-for-5 with a homer
Sunday and is batting .301 with nine homers in his last 40 games … John
Danks shut out the Cubs for seven innings Sunday for his fourth
straight Quality Start … Reports suggest that impending free agent
Jason Bay is close to beginning long-term contract talks with the Red
Sox.

NL Quick Hits: Jamie Moyer moved past Bob Gibson into 45th place
all time with his 252nd career victory Sunday … Kyle Lohse (forearm) is
expected to begin a rehab assignment Thursday at Double-A … Nate
Schierholtz went 4-for-5 with a homer Sunday and is hitting .312 with
nine extra-base hits in 22 starts … Tommy Hanson improved to 4-0 with
six scoreless innings Sunday and hasn’t allowed a run in three starts …
Ryan Sadowski tossed six shutout innings in his big-league debut
Sunday, getting a dozen outs on the ground … Despite leading the team
in wins, Shairon Martis is being bounced from the rotation to make room
for Scott Olsen … Ryan Doumit (wrist) is slated to start rehabbing
Tuesday at Single-A in the hopes of returning next week … Aaron Cook
tossed eight innings of one-run ball Sunday, with Huston Street closing
out his eighth win … Max Scherzer gave up eight runs Sunday, but only
three were earned.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.