Yoenis Cespedes likely returning to A’s Friday

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From Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle comes word that A’s outfielder Yoenis Cespedes took batting practice on the field Saturday and is on track to return to the Oakland lineup this Friday.

Cespedes has been on the disabled list since May 7 with a strained muscle in his left hand. He’ll take batting practice again Sunday before embarking on a short rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento.

Cespedes, 26, is batting .245/.319/.434 with five homers, 21 RBI and four stolen bases through the first 119 plate appearances of his major league career. He signed a four-year, $36 million contract this winter.

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.