Kendrys Morales still not running at full speed, re-examined by foot specialist

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It’s hard to remember now, but at one point the Angels were hoping to have Kendrys Morales in the Opening Day lineup.

Now they might settle for having him in the second half.

Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports that Morales still isn’t running at full speed on the fractured ankle that ended his 2010 season in May and was re-examined yesterday by a foot specialist.

Mike Scioscia called the doctor’s visit “just part of the process” but at this point there’s no timetable for Morales’ return and he seems to be going backward in his recovery with every update.

Morales has been hitting and fielding ground balls since spring training, but until he’s able to run at something resembling full strength and perhaps more importantly do so without needing multiple days off from running afterward it’ll be impossible to project a return date.

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.