Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was cleared to resume performing baseball activities earlier this week and he is doing some light drills. But it’s going to be a long time before we see him back in a major league uniform.
Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington watched Zimmerman play a light game of catch on Thursday afternoon and came away thinking that the 26-year-old “won’t be back for awhile.”
Zimmerman is suffering from a strained muscle in his abdomen and hasn’t played since April 9. He still isn’t taking live batting practice and will probably need a week of minor league at-bats before the Nationals deem him ready to return.
Zimmerman posted a .357/.486/.536 with one home run and four RBI through the Nats’ first eight games.
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.