Jason Marquis was away from the Twins during spring training because his daughter got into a serious bicycling accident, but after building up his arm strength at Double-A he’s ready to join the rotation tonight.
He faces the Yankees in New York, so welcome back and … good luck.
Rather than dropping a pitcher to make room for Marquis on the roster the Twins kept a 13-man pitching staff and instead designated infielder Luke Hughes for assignment. That move is somewhat surprising, but Hughes is a poor defensive second baseman/third baseman who doesn’t really hit enough to be an everyday option at first base or an outfield corner.
There’s a decent chance another team claims him off waivers, but at age 27 and with little success in the majors or at Triple-A the Twins are unlikely to regret losing Hughes.
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.