Reid Brignac back with Rays after brief demotion to Triple-A

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Justin Ruggiano landing on the disabled list with a knee injury has opened the door for Reid Brignac’s return to the majors following a three-week stint at Triple-A.

Brignac didn’t play particularly well in Durham, but with Sean Rodriguez struggling mightily as the Rays’ primary shortstop and Elliot Johnson no one’s idea of a quality everyday player he’ll get a chance to reclaim his old job.

Brignac earned the demotion by hitting just .193 in 68 games and has lost most of his one-time prospect shine thanks to horrible plate discipline and strike-zone control, but he was decent as a rookie last season and at age 25 there’s no reason for the Rays to give up on him yet.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to a 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.