Ryan Zimmerman scratched, a ‘manager’s decision’

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Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was a late scratch Tuesday in what was termed a “manager’s decision” by a team spokesman.

The spokesman said Zimmerman might be available to pinch-hit. Chad Tracy is starting at third base in his place.

Zimmerman’s absence bodes well for Roy Halladay to continue his dominance of the Nationals. He’s 11-0 with a 2.09 ERA against the franchise since last losing to the Expos on June 28, 2002.

CSN Washington’s Mark Zuckerman points out that the Nationals used the “manager’s decision” term once before this season when they scratched Jayson Werth due to what was eventually revealed to be a migraine headache.

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.