David Ortiz appeals his four-game suspension

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As expected, David Ortiz appealed the four-game ban handed down by MLB on Thursday and is in Boston’s lineup for Friday’s game against the Rays.

Orioles pitchers Kevin Gregg (four games) and Mike Gonzalez (three games) appealed their suspension before Baltimore played last night.

Ortiz was pretty lucky to just get four games after charging the mound, even if Gregg encouraged him to do it, so it seems unlikely his suspension will be reduced on appeal.  Nevertheless, he didn’t want to take what would have amounted to a week off by serving the penalty immediately after the All-Star break.

Ortiz said he did plan to go through with the appeal, rather than drop it at a more opportune time.

“After I go through the whole thing (I can address it),” Ortiz said when asked about the suspension. “I can’t really talk about it now. But at one point I will. I’ll tell you what I was thinking. I’ll tell you what I thought was right.”

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.