Brett Gardner has suffered yet another setback in his recovery from an elbow injury that was initially deemed minor and the Yankees left fielder is now in danger of missing the remainder of the season.
Brendan Prunty of the Newark Star Ledger reports that Gardner had to be shut down due to soreness in his elbow following a simulated game Sunday, which is the same thing that happened last time he was getting close to returning.
Gardner’s agent described him as “very frustrated” and he’s scheduled for an MRI exam to assess the latest damage, which all stems from a diving catch attempt on April 17 that left him with a bone bruise.
Gardner’s speed, defense, and on-base skills make him a very good all-around outfielder when healthy, but the Raul Ibanez-Andruw Jones platoon has been productive enough that Yankees left fielders rank right around average in OPS for the position.
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.