While in town to be examined by team doctors yesterday Michael Pineda made a surprise appearance in the Yankees clubhouse, hanging out with the new teammates he barely got to know before undergoing shoulder surgery in April.
Pineda described himself as “feeling better right now” but was also quick to note that he hasn’t been cleared to start throwing again, telling Brendan Prunty of the Newark Star Ledger that his goal is to do so “in the middle of September.”
That obviously rules out any kind of game action this season, minors or majors, but that was expected when Pineda had his torn labrum repaired and it should give him plenty of time to be ready for next spring. For now he’ll continue rehabbing at the Yankees’ complex in Florida.
Meanwhile, Jesus Montero is hitting .266 with eight homers and a .721 OPS in 62 games for the Mariners, so even with Pineda blowing out his arm almost immediately the trade hasn’t been a disaster for New York yet.
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.