Angel Pagan expected to return from disabled list Friday

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The Mets are still missing David Wright and Ike Davis, but they’re about to get one of their regulars back in the starting lineup.

According to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com, Mets manager Terry Collins said this afternoon that Angel Pagan will play one game with Triple-A Buffalo on Thursday before being activated from the disabled list for Friday’s series opener against the Phillies.

Pagan has been sidelined since April 21 with a strained left oblique. He was on the verge of returning earlier this month, but was shut down after feeling more pain in his side. He went 1-for-3 with an RBI double, two walks a run scored in a rehab game with High-A St. Lucie earlier this afternoon and is batting .263 (5-for-19) with one home run, one double and two RBI during his most recent rehab assignment.

The Mets moved Carlos Beltran to right field with the idea of using Pagan as their everyday center fielder, but the 29-year-old was batting just .159/.259/.246 with one home run and six RBI over his first 82 plate appearances prior to being placed on the disabled list. Pagan was one of the most valuable members of the team last year, so that probably buys him a bit of time to get back up to speed, but it will interesting to see if Terry Collins runs out of patience should he continue to struggle.

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.