Cody Ross is “certain” to begin the season on the disabled list with the calf injury he suffered earlier this week, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News.
That could potentially open the door for top prospect Brandon Belt to make the Opening Day roster, but that would involve Aubrey Huff shifting to the outfield full time and the Giants seem more likely to use Nate Schierholtz or Mark DeRosa to fill in for Ross unless it proves to be a major injury.
San Francisco brought back Ross for $6.3 million following his postseason heroics, but even if the calf injury only keeps him out for a couple weeks the 30-year-old with a track record of mediocrity is unlikely to be worth that money.
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.