UPDATE: Sadly the worst case scenario has come to pass: Joel Zumaya fractured his elbow last night. Technically it’s “a non-displaced
fracture of the olecranon” which is the tip of his elbow. He’s done for the season.
12:14 P.M.: cary scene on the mound in Minneapolis last night as Joel Zumaya suffered what appears to be a major arm
Zumaya was pitching in the eighth inning to Delmon
Young. Catcher Gerald Laird said he heard a “pop” as the pitch was
thrown. After the pitch, which Young fouled off, Zumaya writhed in
obvious pain, his arm to his side and his thumb twitching. He eventually
went down to his knees on the grass. When he left the game he held his
arm close to his body and walked gingerly as if each step was painful
Zumaya has had numerous injuries over the past couple of years, all
of which have been rather freaky (i.e. Guitar Hero, hurt while moving
boxes in his home during a wildfire). He’ll have an MRI today,
but by all appearances, this is yet another major setback for a man who,
when healthy, can throw the ball 100 miles per hour.
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.