Pirates’ top pick Mark Appel rocked in College World Series

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It’s been a rough week for Stanford’s Mark Appel.

On Monday night he fell to the eighth spot in the MLB Amateur Draft after being mocked by most experts to go in the top three.

And he was selected by an organization (the Pirates) that he clearly isn’t thrilled about joining.

Now his dream of an NCAA championship is in jeopardy.

Appel was shelled for seven runs (five earned) over four innings Friday in Game 1 of Stanford’s first-round matchup with Florida State. He yielded five hits and walked four while throwing only 55 of his 95 pitches for strikes.

His upside remains sky-high and his body of work with the Cardinal speaks for itself, but you can bet Pirates management was watching the rough outing. And may bring it up in negotiations with Appel’s agent, Scott Boras.

Stanford must now win two straight games over the Seminoles to advance to the second round.

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.