As we mentioned last week, R.A. Dickey (and Kevin Slowey, but no one seems to want to mention him) has been chronicling his ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro for the New York Times. He has just put up another installment. This one is important. He has reached the peak.
Doing so wasn’t easy. As the climb reached the end exhaustion set in. Dickey explains how he did his best to put it out of his mind:
I thought of my family back home playing games, and what the kids were doing in school. I began to think of the money we were raising to help the Bombay Teen Challenge. I visualized pitching to the all the teams in the N.L. East, batter by batter. I thought of anything I could to distract me from the misery I was in.
True fact: the Atlanta Braves’ lineup sees so few pitches that his visualizing of them only took him up 50 vertical feet, so I presume that the Phillies, Marlins, Nationals and his family did most of the heavy mental lifting for him.
Congratulations, R.A. Careful coming back down.
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.