Matt Moore was slated to throw batting practice this morning, but instead the 22-year-old phenom will be out for at least a couple days with what the Rays are calling a “lower abdominal strain.”
Moore described the injury as “like a sore muscle … basically right below my belly button” and said sitting things out is merely precautionary this early in camp, but the strain has apparently bothered him since throwing Friday.
He was able to play catch on both Saturday and Sunday, and for now is hoping to take his next scheduled batting practice turn Wednesday. Moore was also quick to say that it’s not an oblique strain, which is definitely good news given how long those can linger.
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.