Finally given some protection in the lineup, Jose Bautista homers in first at-bat

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Jose Bautista, who went four straight at-bats Sunday without homering, got back in the swing of things Monday, taking Bartolo Colon deep in the first inning against the Yankees.

Bautista now has 18 1/2 homers this season.  We’re giving the other half of this one to Yunel Escobar, who had Colon shaking on the mound with his presence in the on-deck circle (though it might have been jiggling, we’re honestly not sure).

That’s because manager John Farrell made a switch today, dropping Escobar from the top of the lineup to fourth as a replacement for Aaron Hill.

Rajai Davis (.298 OBP) and Corey Patterson (.307 OBP) both made outs ahead of Bautista, so the homer was a solo shot.  But that’s a small price to pay.  It’s not like Bautista is ever going to see anything to hit if there’s guys on base for him.

Escobar (.363 OBP) went on to single with the bases empty and two outs before being stranded.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to 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.