Benches clear twice in Indians vs. Royals game

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Indians right-hander Jeanmar Gomez, third baseman Jack Hannahan and skipper Manny Acta were all ejected from Saturday night’s game against the Royals after two different (but not unrelated) benches-clearing incidents in the third inning.

The Associated Press, via NBCSports.com, has all the details from Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium:

Kansas City starter Jonathan Sanchez plunked Cleveland outfielder Shin-Soo Choo in the top of the third, causing the benches and bullpens to clear the first time. No punches were thrown and order was restored, though the angst apparently simmered until the bottom half.

Gomez wasted no time plunking [Mike] Moustakas when he came to bat, and the Royals’ third baseman glared out to the mound as he headed for first. Gomez was immediately ejected by plate umpire Gary Darling as players again spilled onto the field.

Hannahan was again in the middle of the fracas, this time with Royals manager Ned Yost right in his face. Moustakas wound up with his jersey ripped loose before the teams were separated.

Sanchez threw the pitch that broke Choo’s left thumb last June, so the initial reaction was not unsurprising. What is a bit odd is that no Royals were punished. Perhaps some fines or suspensions are coming.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to 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.