Erick Aybar was initially called day-to-day after he fractured his big right toe on July 21, but the Angels ended up playing it safe by placing him on the disabled list. However, the switch-hitting shortstop is back in the Angels’ starting lineup tonight against the Athletics after missing the minimum 15 days.
Aybar, who signed a four-year, $35 million extension with the Angels in April, is batting just .257/.296/.370 with four home runs, 28 RBI, seven stolen bases and a .666 OPS in 91 games played this season. After getting off to a very slow start, the 28-year-old batted .296 with an .817 OPS in June and July.
Maicer Izturis filled in at shortstop during Aybar’s absence, but he’ll now move back into a timeshare with Alberto Callaspo at the hot corner.
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the Diamondbacks have fired pitching coach Mike Harkey following a season in which the staff ranked ninth among NL teams in runs allowed.
That actually represents a big improvement from last season, when the Diamondbacks allowed the second-most runs in the league in Harkey’s first year as pitching coach, but the Tony La Russa-led front office has decided to make a change.
Prior to joining the Diamondbacks two offseasons ago Harkey served as the Yankees’ bullpen coach from 2008-2013. He pitched eight seasons in the majors.
FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi reports that the Nationals are expected to consider Cal Ripken Jr. for their managerial vacancy. Ripken, of course, was recently reported to have been considered by the club the last time the job was open.
This could be a courtesy. And if you’re a Nats fan, you have to hope it is, right? Because the single biggest argument in favor of Matt Williams when he was hired was that he was a top player in his day, wasn’t too far removed from his playing career and could be a good clubhouse guy who understood what made major leaguers tick. His lack of experience was brushed off. All of which would be the same thing for Ripken, except he doesn’t even have the coaching experience Williams had and is even farther removed from his playing days.
I know he’s famous and everything, but if the Nationals’ 2015 season is evidence of anything, perhaps it should be evidence that sometimes it’s useful to have a manager who has actually, you know, made a pitching change once in his professional life.