Dexter Fowler doesn’t think giving up switch-hitting is the answer

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Slumping center fielder Dexter Fowler probably would have been sent down by the Rockies last week if not for a strained abdominal muscle that put him on the disabled list instead, but he doesn’t believe that quitting switch-hitting will give his flailing career a boost.

The 25-year-old Fowler, in his third full season with the Rockies, is a natural right-handed hitter.  In his career, he’s hit .282/.369/.414 as a righty and .243/.339/.380 hitter as a lefty.

MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reported that Jim Tracy is on board with Fowler as a switch-hitter for now, but believes a change might be inevitable if Fowler’s numbers continue to go south.  Fowler posted a .770 OPS as a rookie last year and a .757 mark last season, but he’s down to .688 at the moment.

Fowler has also been a disaster away from Coors Field in his career, with an OPS nearly 200 points lower on the road.  He’s hit .225/.313/.333 in 172 career away games.

The Rockies opted to move Carlos Gonzalez back to center field when Fowler landed on the DL, and expectations are that Fowler is in for a lengthy rehab assignment before he makes it back to Denver.  If Fowler doesn’t excel at Triple-A, he’ll probably be optioned to the minors for a spell.

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.