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.
Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.
Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season. This, by the way, marks the second time A-Rod has taken over Aaron Boone’s job given that he replaced Boone at third base for the Yankees in 2004.
The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.
In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.