Shin-Soo Choo might not need surgery on thumb

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According to Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com, Shin-Soo Choo may be able to avoid surgery on his right thumb.

Choo sprained his thumb while attempting to make a diving catch against the Athletics last Friday. After being examined by Dr. Thomas Graham at the Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday, it was determined that Choo will wear a brace on the thumb for seven to 10 days before being re-evaluated.

If the thumb responds, Indians trainer Lonnie Soloff said surgery would not be needed and Choo could return much sooner than the six-to-eight week timetable originally presented over the weekend.

“It’s good news,” manager Manny Acta said. “We’re still going to have to
wait 10 days to see where that takes us. But it will be a great boost
for us if he doesn’t need surgery and we can have him back a lot sooner
than we were anticipating.”

Choo, who turns 28 next week, is batting .286/.390/.475 with 13 homers, 43 RBI and 12 stolen bases this season, proving to be one of the few bright spots for the last-place Indians. He was a near-lock to make his first All-Star appearance until his recent injury. With Choo down, right-hander Fausto Carmona will represent the Tribe in Anaheim next week, instead.

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.