Reports on Carlos Beltran’s return from the disabled list have been hard to keep track of.
First, manager Jerry Manuel said the outfielder might return for the Mets’ series against the Marlins in Puerto Rico. That, of course, is now over. Then it was rumored that he would be out until after the All-Star break. We may be able to call that false now as well.
According to David Lennon of New York’s Newsday, Beltran will play consecutive nine-inning games this weekend at Single-A Port St. Lucie and could return on Monday if he reports no abnormalities in his surgically-repaired knee. He’s been hitting the ball well down in Florida and should be his old productive self at the plate once he makes his way back into the Mets’ starting lineup.
The 33-year-old hit .325 with a .915 OPS and 10 home runs last season in only 81 games with the Mets.
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.