Mike Napoli not close to returning from disabled list

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Mike Napoli wasn’t ready to come off the disabled list when eligible earlier this week and it sounds like the Rangers catcher isn’t close to returning from a quadriceps injury.

In fact, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com the Rangers “are coming to grips with the possibility that Napoli won’t be ready to come off the disabled list this week and that it could be well into September before he is back.”

That certainly makes the decision to acquire Geovany Soto from the Cubs and cut Yorvit Torrealba loose a much more important pair of moves than the swap of backup catchers that it appeared to be at the time.

Soto has been thrust into the starting job while hitting just .247 with a .674 OPS in 21 games for the Rangers, which actually represents an improvement over his numbers for the Cubs.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to a 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.