Chris Carpenter threw 101 pitches last night, holding the Rangers to two runs over seven innings, and afterward wasted no time saying that he’ll be available out of the bullpen if the series goes to Game 7.
For now Kyle Lohse is the Cardinals’ scheduled Game 7 starter, but manager Tony La Russa’s confidence in him isn’t exactly at an all-time high and Carpenter responded “absolutely” when asked if he’d be able to pitch some in relief.
Adding to the intrigue is that there’s a 75 percent chance of rain for tomorrow, so if Game 6 is pushed back to Thursday and the Cardinals can extend the series with a victory Carpenter (and C.J. Wilson) would be working on three days’ rest in Game 7.
Carpenter started on three days’ rest for the first time in his career during the NLDS, although it didn’t go particularly well. And rain or shine Ron Washington has made it very clear that Matt Harrison will start Game 7 for the Rangers.
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.