Mike Trout is in the Angels’ starting lineup this afternoon

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The Angels have dropped five straight games and currently sit in last place in the American League West with a 6-14 record, so they are hoping the newly-promoted Mike Trout can provide a much-needed spark for their lineup.

According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, Trout will bat leadoff and play left field this afternoon against the Indians. Peter Bourjos will make the start in center field while Vernon Wells is out of the lineup. The Angels didn’t call up Trout to sit on the bench, so his playing time figures to come at the expense of either Wells or Bourjos on most days. Mark Trumbo will make the start at third base this afternoon.

The comparisons to Nationals’ outfielder Bryce Harper are only natural and hopefully they’ll continue for the next 15-20 years, but Trout is probably the better bet to succeed in 2012. The 20-year-old already had 135 plate appearances in the majors last year and while Harper was merely holding his own against Triple-A pitching prior to his promotion, Trout was hitting .403/.467/.623 with ten extra-base hits (one homer), 13 RBI, six stolen bases and a 1.091 OPS with Salt Lake.

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.