Justin Upton has played three straight games since being scratched from Tuesday’s lineup due to a jammed left thumb, but Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic last night that the injury is still “bothering him considerably.”
Upton hurt the thumb while sliding into second base to break up a double play on Sunday. He’s using padding around the thumb while hitting and has been held out of batting practice the past two days in order to ease the pain. While he’ll have to grind through it for now, Gibson is confident the injury will heal while he’s in the lineup.
“It should,” Gibson said. “But he’s beating on it every day, so it’s not going to heal as quick as it would normally. If he were a writer, it would heal a lot quicker.”
Upton went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and a run scored in last night’s loss to the Rockies. He’s hitting .211 (4-for-19) with two doubles and seven walks so far this season.
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.