ESPN releases the first-half Sunday Night Baseball schedule

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The Sunday Night Baseball schedule for the first half of the season has been released, and it breaks down thusly:

April 3:   San Francisco at Los Angeles Dodgers (ESPN2)
April 10:  N.Y. Yankees at Boston
April 17:  Texas at N.Y. Yankees
April 24:  Cincinnati at St. Louis
May 1:  N.Y. Mets at Philadelphia
May 8:  Atlanta at Philadelphia
May 15:  Boston at N.Y. Yankees
May 22:  Chicago Cubs at Boston
May 29:  Cincinnati at Atlanta (ESPN2)
June 5-July 3 TBD
July 10: N.Y. Mets at San Francisco
July 17:  Boston at Tampa Bay

Six of 11 of the named games don’t include the Yankees or the Red Sox. I think this is actually an improvement over years past. Of course, there are, like, five games there in June in that “TBD” row which could more than uneven that out. UPDATE: Orioles’ outfielder Adam Jones says the lack of O’s games on Sunday night is “lame az hell.”

Ah, who cares. MLB.tv is good and cheap. If you get sick of ESPN shoving the Yankees and Red Sox down your throat on Sundays you can watch anyone else the rest of the week to make up for it.

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.