Yoenis Cespedes on track to begin rehab assignment Friday

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On the disabled list with a strained muscle in his left hand, A’s outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has been cleared to take batting practice and could begin a minor-league rehab assignment as soon as Friday, according to Jane Lee of MLB.com.

Cespedes is eligible to come off the disabled list on Sunday and barring a setback it sounds like there’s a good chance he’ll be ready by then.

Cespedes was off to a slow start before the injury, hitting just .200 in 11 games, but he still managed a decent .748 OPS thanks to three homers and six walks.

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.