Scott Kazmir, who was banished to the disabled list on April 9 with what the Angels called lower back tightness, struggled mightily in his return to the mound Tuesday, giving up six runs in 1 2/3 innings for Triple-A Salt Lake.
He walked four and hit a batter before being pulled.
The Angels went as slowly as they could with Kazmir after he was roughed up all spring and then tagged for five runs in 1 2/3 innings in his one major league start on April 3. He spent over a month pitching regularly in extended spring games before the Angels put him back in a real game today. The result, though, was disastrous.
Since they have nothing to lose now, the Angels will probably keep Kazmir on a minor league rehab assignment for the next 29 days. Once his month is up, they can either activate him from the DL or release him and eat the remainder of his $12 million salary for this year. Looking at his performance today, it’d be something of an upset if he ever dons the team’s uniform again.
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.