Joe Mauer likely to miss several games after tweaking knee

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Joe Mauer exited yesterday’s game in the sixth inning after tweaking his left knee while swinging and is expected to be sidelined for several days. Mauer missed most of his rookie season in 2004 with an injury to the same knee that required surgery, but has for the most part avoided any further problems there.
Ron Gardenhire called it “not a big deal” and “one of those day-to-day things,” but with the AL Central title all but locked up the Twins can afford to be very cautious with the reigning MVP. Minnesota has a 10-game lead over Chicago.
Mauer has been on fire since the Twins lost Justin Morneau to a concussion in early July, hitting .368 in 59 games. Overall this season among AL hitters he ranks second in batting average (.331), third in on-base percentage (.407), and ninth in OPS (.880), which is just a typical year for baseball’s best catcher.

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.