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.
The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.
Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.
While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.