As noted by MLB.com’s Jake Kaplan, Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria finished 1-for-4 with a strikeout in his first minor league rehab game on Saturday evening with the Triple-A Durham Bulls.
Longoria is getting the day off Sunday but will resume his rehab assignment on Monday night and should be back in the bigs within the next 7-10 days.
“I felt good out there,” Longoria told reporters after Saturday’s debut. “I was very satisfied with the way I felt. I felt like all my swings were as hard as I could, and I didn’t feel any pain or soreness or grabbing. The running was fine. All positive things. … Just trying to get at-bats, pile at-bats up, see some good pitching.”
The 26-year-old has been sidelined since tearing his left hamstring on the last day of April. He’ll return to the .329/.433/.561 batting line, four home runs and 19 RBI that he cultivated in 23 games before the injury.
The Rays are currently 36-29, three-and-a-half games back of the Yankees in the American League East.
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.