Incredibly enough, the Padres have scored 43 runs in their last four games. Still, they’re giving Orlando Hudson his first career start in the cleanup spot Tuesday against the Mets.
Never in his life has Hudson batted from the fourth spot in the order, even in his appearances off the bench. His previous 1,165 starts break down like this:
Batting 2nd: 414
Batting 3rd: 239
Batting 8th: 193
Batting 7th: 144
Batting 9th: 82
Batting 6th: 53
Batting 1st: 23
Batting 5th: 17
Batting 4th: 0
Hudson brings a .239/.332/.320 line, three homers and 27 RBI in 259 at-bats with him into tonight’s game. That the Mets are throwing a left-hander in Chris Capuano is undoubtedly part of the reason Bud Black has decided to hit Hudson fourth tonight. All three of the switch-hitter’s homers have come against southpaws, and his slugging percentage skyrockets to .386 when he’s batting from the right side.
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.