Rangers promote Cuban defector Leonys Martin to Triple-A

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Cuban defector Leonys Martin, who received a $15.5 million deal from the Rangers back in May, was promoted from Double-A Frisco to Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday.

He’ll replace Julio Borbon as Round Rock’s center fielder after Borbon went on the disabled list with a sprained left ankle.

The 23-year-old Martin hit .348/.435/.571 with four homers and 24 RBI in 112 at-bats for Frisco.  He struck out just eight times in 29 games.  The only unimpressive thing about his stint in the Texas League was that he was caught eight times in 18 steal attempts.

If Martin can keep it going in Triple-A, he might get a chance to take over from Endy Chavez as the Rangers’ primary center fielder for the final two months of the season.

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.