Jon Niese was dominating the Cardinals when he left last night’s game. But the reason he left was not because he had no more worlds left to conquer, but because of the return of a problem he faced last year: a rapid heartbeat or, as the doctors call it, tachycardia.
This happened to him late last June in Texas. Afterwards he said it happened before that as well. He went through a battery of tests at at the time, including an electrocardiogram, echocardiogram and a treadmill stress test, all of which came back normal. He didn’t miss a start after it occurred in 2011.
Presumably he’ll be examined again. And hopefully this is just something that happens to him and doesn’t portend any greater health problems and no missed time.
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.