Don Mattingly has the Midas touch

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Jerry Hairston Jr. played in 1,289 major league games leading up to Sunday. In none of them was he ever penciled into the third spot in the lineup.

Well, of course, Don Mattingly did it today after never hitting him higher than fifth previously this season. And all Hairston did was respond with his first career five-hit day in the Dodgers’ 5-1 victory over the Astros.

Hairston hadn’t had as much as a four-hit game since 2008 before today’s outburst. He ended up with four singles and a double, and he now has a .381 average in 63 at-bats on the season. Today’s game was just his third back from a DL stint caused by a hamstring strain.

Hairston is certainly playing way over his head at the moment, but that goes for a number of Dodgers. Chris Capuano picked up win No. 7 today, tying him for the major league lead. Catcher A.J. Ellis is playing like an All-Star, and his backup, the normally light-hitting Matt Treanor, homered in his second straight game today. Even Elian Herrera, whom no one had heard of three weeks ago, is batting .342. It’s looking like a charmed year for the team in L.A., and Mattingly will skate to NL Manager of the Year honors if this keeps up.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to a 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.