Great Moments in Independent League Baseball

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Friend of HBT Emma Span makes her Sports On Earth debut on the day that Sports on Earth debuts. She’s the “Video Killed the Radio Star” of the online sports world.

Her topic: Roger Clemens’ return to baseball with the Sugar Land Skeeters.  You should read it all because she’s a great writer, but if you take nothing else away from it, take this:

As the team’s name indicates, the Skeeters are far from the majors in both attitude and talent. (In honor of the Rocket, they postponed Saturday’s scheduled promotion, in which “Human Fireball” Ted Batchelor would set himself aflame and round the bases, until Sept. 8).

I’ve seen Roger Clemens pitch hundreds of times. I’ve never seen anyone round the bases while on fire. I think the Skeeters made a bad call here, folks.

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.