Heath Bell added to NL All-Stars as Yovani Gallardo's fill-in

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Heath Bell had little chance of winning the MLB.com “Final Vote” contest for spot in the All-Star game, but now he’s been taken off the ballot and officially added to the NL roster as the injury replacement for Yovani Gallardo.
Bell made his first All-Star game last season while doing a marvelous job stepping in for Trevor Hoffman as the Padres’ closer and is certainly deserving of a return trip, as he leads the league in saves for the second straight season and has a 1.72 ERA in 36.2 innings.
His removal from the “Final Vote” ballot leaves Joey Votto, Billy Wagner, Ryan Zimmerman, and Carlos Gonzalez competing for the spot.

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.