Erick Aybar hoping to return from knee injury this weekend

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Erick Aybar has avoided the disabled list after suffering an ugly looking knee injury on Casey McGehee’s takeout slide last week and manager Mike Scioscia said yesterday that the shortstop is on the verge of returning.
According to Scioscia “he did great” and “got a glowing report” while taking batting practice, running, and fielding ground balls prior to Thursday’s game, making it likely that “he’ll be available this weekend” in at least a part-time role.
“I’m ready to get back out there,” Aybar told Lyle Spencer of MLB.com. “I feel normal. If it was up to me, I’d play today.”
Aybar was just starting to heat up before the injury, batting .340 with six steals in his previous 25 games. Maicer Izturis coming down with an injury of his own shortly after Aybar was knocked out of the lineup has left Brandon Wood filling in at shortstop, but he hasn’t played particularly well (shocking, I know) and will now have to fight the hot-hitting Kevin Frandsen for starts at third base.

Royals closer Kelvin Herrera leaves with forearm tightness

Associated Press
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The Royals are a game and a half out of the crazy AL Wild Card race — six games back of the Indians in the division — so they don’t have a huge margin for error. They got some bad news last night, though, that could have a major impact on their playoff hopes: closer Kelvin Herrera experienced tightness in his right forearm in the ninth inning of last night’s win, forcing him out of the game.

Herrera walked the bases loaded, then went to a 2-0 count on the next batter before leaving the game. That last pitch was a fastball that clocked in at 91 m.p.h., which is NOT a typical Kelvin Herrera fastball.  Herrera didn’t talk after the game but his teammate Sal Perez said that Herrera told him  “I’m tight. I don’t feel my forearm.”

Reporters left the clubhouse before an official diagnosis or prognosis could be delivered, so expect an update some time today. If Herrera is out the closer duties could fall to Scott Alexander or Brandon Maurer.

Albert Pujols sets the all-time record for home runs by a foreign-born player

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Albert Pujols had a big night last night, driving in four runs as the Angels beat the Rangers 10-1. Three of those runs came on a three-run homer. That was the 610th home run of Pujols’ career, snapping a tie for eighth on the all-time list with Sammy Sosa. It also made him baseball’s all-time leader for home runs by a player born outside the U.S.

Pujols was aware of the accomplishment, of course, and noted how honored he was after the game:

”It’s pretty special. Obviously, all the great players from the Dominican Republic, Latin America, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, they’ve gone through the big leagues and to be able to accomplish something like this is very humbling.”

After Sosa, who is from the Dominican Republic, comes Rafael Palmeiro (569); Manny Ramirez (555); David Ortiz (541); Carlos Delgado (473); Jose Canseco (462); Adrian Beltre and Miguel Cabrera (459).