The fourth and final Opening Day is today. Thank you, Major League Baseball, for taking what is normally concentrated enjoyment and dividing it up into smaller, less-than-satisfying chunks! The schedule:
- Chicago White Sox at Texas 2:05 PM Danks vs Lewis
- Minnesota at Baltimore 3:05 PM Pavano vs Arrieta
- NY Yankees at Tampa Bay 3:10 PM Sabathia vs Shields
- St. Louis at Milwaukee 4:10 PM Garcia vs Gallardo
- San Francisco at Arizona 7:00 PM Lincecum vs Kennedy
- Colorado at Houston 7:05 PM Guthrie vs Rodriguez
- Kansas City at LA Angels 10:00 PM Chen vs Weaver
- Seattle at Oakland 10:05 PM Vargas vs McCarthy
- LA Dodgers at San Diego 10:05 PM Billingsley vs Luebke
Pavano! Arrieta! Feel the excitement!
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.