With Andres Torres headed to the disabled list because of a strained left calf, the Mets are planning to promote Kirk Nieuwenhuis from Triple-A prior to Saturday’s game.
Nieuwenhuis is recovering from an injury himself, having been down for most of the spring with a strained oblique. That prevented him from getting much play as a candidate to fill in when it looked like both Torres and Scott Hairston might start the season on the DL. Nieuwenhuis, though, is back on the field now and he went 0-for-2 in Thursday’s Triple-A opener.
Nieuwenhuis hit .298/.403/.505 in 53 games for Triple-A Buffalo last year before suffering a torn labrum in his left shoulder and missing the second half of the season. Baseball America rates him the Mets’ No. 7 prospect.
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.