Matt Purke, who agreed to a major league deal with the Nationals in August worth $4.4 million, made his first pro start yesterday in the Arizona Fall League. And it didn’t go so well.
Courtesy of Amanda Comak of the Washington Times, here was his line:
1/3 IP, 7 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR
Ouch. Purke, who fell to the third round in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft due to arm problems, threw just 10 out of 22 pitches for strikes and registered one swinging strike. The 21-year-old southpaw topped out at 92 mph on the radar gun and mostly sat in the 89-91 mph range.
While it’s easy to panic after a poor performance like this, Purke kept things in perspective in a series of Tweets last night:
Sometimes you win sometimes you lose and sometimes it rains Well today it rained and poured and hailed and sleeted and tornadoed.
Just got to get out there and do better next time.
Fortunately for Purke, it’s nearly impossible to do much worse.
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.