B.J. Upton, who had played in every game since the All-Star break, is getting a planned day off on Sunday, manager Joe Maddon said.
It’s been scheduled since last week, he added.
Maddon didn’t know it at the time, but he sparked a million rumors when he removed Upton late in a 10-4 game Friday against the Royals. With Desmond Jennings having been scratched from Triple-A Durham’s lineup, the move appeared to signal a trade involving Upton. Upton, though, stayed put and he was in Saturday’s lineup, going 0-for-4 in a 5-4 loss.
Upton had an excellent first half of July, bue he’s 6-for-40 with no extra-base hits since the All-Star break. The stretch has dropped his OPS from .752 to .706.
Jennings is starting in center field for the Rays today.
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.