Carlos Pena exited this afternoon’s game against the Diamondbacks due to a mild sprain of his right thumb, according to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com.
Pena was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the eighth inning after injuring the thumb while trying to catch a throw from Starlin Castro in the top half of the frame.
“He’s OK,” Quade said. “(Pena) said, ‘(I can) play defense, no problem, (and) can swing it, but we got an inning going here, maybe someone would be better off (pinch-hitting).’ Who says that? That’s fantastic to me.”
It doesn’t sound like Pena will need to miss much time, but Jeff Baker and Tyler Colvin are possibilities if the Cubs hold him out of Tuesday’s lineup.
Pena, who was signed to a one-year, $10 million contract in December, is batting .200 (2-for-10) with a double, four RBI and a 3/3 K/BB ratio over his first four games this season.
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.