Ivan Rodriguez hasn’t played since July 6 due to an oblique injury and the Nationals don’t really have any room for him with Wilson Ramos and Jesus Flores splitting time behind the plate, but the future Hall of Famer is determined to play again this season.
Steven Miller of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez will begin a rehab assignment Saturday at Single-A, although he already had a rehab stint scheduled for earlier this month and had to cancel those plans.
If everything goes well this time around Rodriguez is hoping to play four games in the minors and then rejoin the Nationals late next week, by which point rosters will have expended and activating him from the disabled list without a clear role to fill won’t be an issue.
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.