A’s right-hander Pat Neshek undoubtedly took the mound with a heavy heart when he was called from the bullpen in the seventh inning of tonight’s ALDS Game 1 against the Tigers — only three days after losing his infant son just 23 hours after childbirth.
But the side-armer looked plenty composed.
Neshek induced a fielder’s choice groundout from Detroit’s Omar Infante then struck out Austin Jackson, holding two inherited runners at bay while keeping the Athletics within striking distance. He pointed to the sky as he exited the field, then put on a hoodie and took a seat in the dugout. When the TBS cameras panned to him after coming back from commercial break, he was seen letting out a deep breath.
The A’s are wearing patches this evening in honor of Neshek’s son. They currently trail the Tigers 3-1.
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.