Josh Beckett cites illness after deliberate day

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The talk of the Rays broadcast this afternoon was just how much time Josh Beckett took in between pitches, particularly during Tampa Bay’s three-run first. As it turned out, he was going as fast as he could.

Beckett said afterwards that a combination of battling the flu, being on flu medication and dealing with waves of dizziness contributed to his deliberate work.

The first three batters reached and came around to score off Beckett today. The first run came because he was a little slow to react to a liner that bounced off his glove. Beckett, though, was able to shut the Rays down after the early outburst. He ended up striking out seven over six innings in Boston’s 7-3 victory.

The win was his first since May 20. The Red Sox lost each of his five previous starts.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to 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.