Alex Rodriguez began a minor league rehab assignment last night with High-A Tampa and went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts as the designated hitter. It was his first game action since suffering a fracture in his left hand when he was by a pitch by Mariners’ ace Felix Hernandez on July 24.
Rodriguez must be feeling pretty good, as Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York reports that he’s starting at third base today in his second rehab game. Even better, Yankees manager Joe Girardi thinks it’s possible he could be activated from the disabled list when the team when they begin a three-game series against the Rays on Monday. The Yankees have lost seven out of their last 10 games and are struggling to put runs on the board recently, so that’s a very good thing.
Rodriguez, 37, is hitting .276/.358/.449 with 15 home runs, 44 RBI, 11 stolen bases and an .806 OPS in 94 games played this season.
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.