Ian Kinsler hoping to rejoin Rangers next week

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Ian Kinsler is expected to test his high-ankle sprain by doing some running today and if all goes well should be cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment later this week. Kinsler has been sidelined since injuring his ankle in the middle of spring training, but the Rangers have gotten surprisingly good production at second base in his absence, with Joaquin Arias going 13-for-32 (.406) in eight starts.
That’s not sustainable, of course, particularly since Arias has yet to draw a walk, has managed just one extra-base hit, and carries a career .674 OPS in 349 games at Triple-A. In other words, the Rangers have been fortunate to get a nice fluke performance from Kinsler’s primary fill-in, but getting the All-Star second baseman back as soon as possible is key and it sounds like he could be ready to come off the disabled list as soon as next week.
“We don’t want him station-to-station,” manager Ron Washington told Jeff Wilson of the Dallas Morning News. “We want Kinsler. We want him to be able to come here and put his stamp on us by doing everything that he does. And if he can run, he’s ready to go. We’ll find out Tuesday if this all this work is beneficial. If all goes well, we’ll try to get him out of here.”
Kinsler debuted in 2006 and has hit .279/.350/.477 with an average of 21 homers and 23 steals per season, with his .827 OPS during that four-year span ranking fifth among all second basemen behind only Chase Utley (.931), Dustin Pedroia (.832), Robinson Cano (.831), and Dan Uggla (.830).

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.