The Braves place Roger McDowell on administrative leave

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Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Braves have placed pitching coach Roger McDowell on administrative leave pending the outcome of their investigation into the anti-gay slurs and otherwise poor behavior he allegedly displayed toward a fan at AT&T Park last Sunday.

In the meantime, Dave Wallace — the Braves’ minor league pitching coordinator — has been named interim pitching coach.  Wallace, you’ll remember, is a former pitching coach for the Mets, Dodgers and Red Sox.

McDowell apologized publicly for his actions.  This move suggests that an apology may not be good enough for the Braves and Major League Baseball.

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.