Charlie Manuel chewed out the Phillies last night

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It probably doesn’t matter. Late season road trip against the worst team in baseball.  Nothing to truly play for at the moment other than good health. The Phillies can be forgiven for dropping a couple of games against the Astros.  Charlie Manuel isn’t all that willing to let it slide, however. Here’s Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com:

Manuel had strong words for his team during a clubhouse meeting after it played another sloppy game in a 5-2 loss (see game breakdown) to the lowly Houston Astros on Tuesday night. “We had a little talk,” Manuel admitted. “Not a big talk.” The message: “Just be more alert and play the game how we can,” he said.

Manuel was soft-selling the meeting. Word from the clubhouse was he rattled some cages pretty soundly.

I sure hope he didn’t criticize Ryan Howard. Dear Lord, the Phillies fans would turn on him in the drop of a hat!

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.