Dallas Braden isn't joking about his love of the 209

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Rick Chandler of our very own Out of Bounds blog caught up with Dallas Braden last weekend as Mr. Perfect visited his hometown of Stockton to be feted at a Stockton Ports game. Braden had some nice things to say about his hometown. As a guy who hails from a couple of places that aren’t always thought of all that highly, I like to see that kind of pride.

But Braden is definitely more hardcore than I ever well be. For example, I don’t plan on having either “810” or “304” tattooed in Olde English script on my abdomen anytime soon.  Click through to see Braden’s, um, pride.

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.