Looking at the bad guys in “42”

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Rob Neyer is at his absolute best when he’s writing historically. He has a tremendously large baseball library and, it appears anyway, he either has most of it memorized or at least painstakingly indexed.  Yesterday he used that brain and those tools to put together a great column. The subject: the stories behind the players and coaches in the movie “42” who served as the movie’s villains.

For what it’s worth, the movie got their roles down pretty good as far as these things go. But even though a lot of historical drama amps up the bad guy factor to comical proportions, even with real life figures, Rob notes that the makers of “42” seemed to avoid that for the most part.

Like I said, great stuff. Well, except for the part where he claims that the actor who played Wash in “Firefly” wasn’t handsome. That one just hurt. I hope Zoe doesn’t read this.

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.