Seven days after announcing that they were shifting him from the rotation into the closer’s role, the White Sox revealed today that Chris Sale will start Saturday’s game against the Royals.
The original move was made by the White Sox field staff, but Sale lobbied GM Ken Williams to remain in the rotation and will get his way.
Williams said that an MRI on Sale’s elbow came back “clean and pristine” but that he’ll continue to be monitored. Sale will be expected to be honest about the state of his arm going forward. It was concerns about his elbow and his ability to hold up as a starter that prompted last week’s switch.
Sale was supposed to replace Hector Santiago as the White Sox closer, but now that appears to be Addison Reed’s job. It probably should have been Reed’s role all along anyway.
Sale is 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA in five starts this season. He made one relief appearance after the move, giving up an unearned run in the eighth inning Tuesday and getting charged with a blown save.
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.