Yesterday afternoon MLB handed down an eight-game suspension to Joel Peralta for having pine tar on his glove, but the Rays reliever appealed and was available to pitch last night against the Nationals and the manager who ratted him out to umpires, Davey Johnson.
And sure enough manager Joe Maddon brought Peralta into the sixth inning of a tie game in relief of starter Matt Moore.
Peralta got the first two outs, but then gave up a double to Jesus Flores, intentionally walked Adam LaRoche, and gave up another double to Danny Espinosa that scored two runs. He ended up taking the loss in a 5-2 defeat, falling to 0-3 with a 4.20 ERA on the season.
So the Nationals get the last laugh and take two of three games in the interleague series, although the Rays did win the actual game in which Peralta was ejected Tuesday night. And remarkably Maddon and Johnson managed to avoid throwing any more fire on their public war of words.
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.