The Astros play a prank on Chris Johnson

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I love stuff like this: Astros’ rookie Chris Johnson hit his first major league home run on Monday. He subsequently became the victim of a prank:

He was originally given a ball he was told was the home run ball.

“They wrote all over it, I mean just destroyed it,” he said. “I
was like, ‘Really? Come on…'”

The ball was a fake.

“After the game, Roy (Oswalt) told me he had the real one,” said
Johnson.

I have no idea if this is true or not, but someone from Texas who claims to know the scoop emailed me to tell me that the fake ball was covered with just the foulest stuff, including illustrations of the male anatomy and whatnot.

I desperately want that to be true because I’d like to think that something as minor as a nightmare season for the Astros can in no way disrupt some good old fashioned locker room humor.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to a 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.