False alarm: Emilio Bonifacio could return from thumb injury in two or three weeks

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UPDATE: Things were looking pretty bleak after Bonifacio sprained his left thumb, but the Marlins received some good news this afternoon. According to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, the sprain isn’t as severe as initially believed and Bonifacio could be back in about two or three weeks.

10:48 AM: The Marlins’ season just keeps getting worse, as Emilio Bonifacio left the second game of yesterday’s doubleheader against the Nationals after aggravating a left thumb injury while trying to make a diving play at second base in the ninth inning.

Bonifacio already missed nearly two months earlier this season following surgery to repair torn ligaments in the same thumb. According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, Bonifacio was diagnosed with a sprained thumb and was in tears after the game. Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said he isn’t expecting him back this season.

“When he was on the ground, I knew something was bad,” Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I just saw it right away. Same thumb. Same injury. I don’t expect him back this year.”

Bonifacio has mostly played center field this year, but he recently took over the starting second base job after Omar Infante was traded to the Tigers. The 27-year-old speedster is hitting .261/.335/.321 with one home run, 11 RBI and a .655 OPS this season. He’s tied for second in the majors with 30 stolen bases, despite appearing in just 61 games.

Nick Green is expected to be called up from Triple-A New Orleans to replace Bonifacio on the active roster. The 33-year-old infielder is a .237 hitter in the majors, but he’s batting .344/.397/.599 with 12 homers and a .996 OPS in 63 games with the Zephyrs this season.

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.