Ryan Howard sidelined indefinitely after developing an infection

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Matt Gelb of Philly.com reports that Ryan Howard has suffered a setback.  Specifically, on Monday he underwent a procedure to clean an infection from his original wound, and the healing from that procedure will sideline him from action indefinitely.

We first caught wind of this last week when Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reported that Howard had “a little setback.”  At the time, Ruben Amaro said his visit to the doctor on Monday was routine.  Not so routine after all, it seems.

The most distressing thing about all of this is how the story even got out.  I’m led to understand that Amaro has mastered the Jedi mind trick.  When he said “it is but a routine procedure … move along,” why did anyone keep digging? Why did they not, due to Amaro’s irresistible persuasion, go on to something else?  I can only assume that Matt Gelb is a Jedi himself and such sorcery does not work on him.  We must be wary in Master Gelb’s presence.

Anyway, more Ty Wigginton and Jim Thome for us.  So we’re all lucky.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal

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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.