Ryan Ludwick is really happy to be a member of the Cincinnati Reds.
One reason for his happiness is that he comes from Georgetown, Ohio and grew up rooting for the Reds and Bengals. Another reason for his joy is because of where he isn’t: That hitter’s nightmare known as Petco Park.
Ludwick spoke with John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Playing in San Diego screwed me up. I’m not using that as an excuse or a crutch, but it turned me into a dead pull hitter. I got away from what I was as a hitter.”
The numbers seem to back him up. Ludwick has a line of .218/.298/.361 in 91 games at Petco, substantially lower than his .261/.332/.455 career line. It remains to be seen if Ludwick will improve enough to earn substantial playing time in a crowded outfield, but he sounded confident, telling Fay, “I think it’s kind of up to me. If I play well, I’ll play a lot. If I don’t, I won’t.”
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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.