And now your semi-annual reminder that Tropicana Field is really not fit for the playing of professional baseball games:
The Tampa Bay Rays’ second baseman hit a ball in the eighth inning of Sunday night’s game against Boston that broke a light on an overhanging catwalk down the third-base line. Parts of the light dropped to the playing surface in foul ground between third base and the Boston bullpen. No one was hit by the debris, which took around three minutes to clean up.
Three minutes in a nearly six-hour game doesn’t really make much of a difference, but man, it’s always wacky whenever we’re reminded that we have a major league ballpark that was built in such a way that it cannot properly accommodate batted baseballs.
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.