Dustin Pedroia expected to return to action Thursday

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Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia was lifted from Tuesday night’s game against the Marlins after appearing to aggravate the torn abductor muscle in his right thumb. But he’s fine. Or at least willing to play through the pain brought on by a re-injury.

According to Tony Lee of ESPN Boston, Pedroia told reporters that he expects to return to the starting lineup for Thursday’s series-finale with Miami. He was held out of action Wednesday, but management referred to that as a precautionary measure.

Pedroia, 28, is batting .269/.326/.403 with five home runs and 26 RBI in 280 plate appearances this season. One of Major League Baseball’s toughest players, he has made an appearance in 61 of Boston’s 69 games.

The Red Sox entered play Tuesday night with a 34-33 record — ranking tied for last in the AL East.

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.