Adrian Beltre gets drilled in helmet, exits game

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Update: The early word is that Beltre has only a bruise on the back of his head. No concussion. He said after the game that he didn’t believe Padilla was throwing at him.

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Vicente Padilla is known to be a head-hunter, but this one truly appeared to be an accident.

With two outs in the eighth inning tonight, Padilla drilled Adrian Beltre in the back of the helmet with a 92-mph fastball, sending Beltre to the ground in a heap. Beltre got up after a minute and wanted to stay in the game, but the Rangers made the smart decision to send in a pinch-runner.

Padilla was working in a tie game and had an 0-2 count on Beltre when the fastball appeared to get away from him. Had it been anyone else, there would have been no doubt it was an accident. Padilla doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt based on his history, but it still seems unlikely any malice was intended.

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.