Rich Hill’s injury leaves the Red Sox short of a left-handed reliever and opens the door for Hideki Okajima to potentially be called back up from Triple-A, but Okajima told Michael Vega of the Boston Globe that he “would rather not be called up in this situation.”
Demoted to Triple-A for the second time this season, Okajima called it “a new start for me” explained that “hopefully along the line another team will show more interest in me and I can be traded.”
Of course, it’s unclear whether the Red Sox would seriously consider recalling Okajima to fill Hill’s spot anyway. He’s obviously fallen out of favor in a big way and they were willing to lose him on waivers for nothing last week, but predictably no other teams were willing to take on the remainder of his $1.75 million salary.
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.