Hanley Ramirez aiming to begin rehab assignment next week

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Hanley Ramirez told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles last Tuesday that he was going to return from the disabled list “way sooner” than expected. And it appears he wasn’t being overly optimistic.

According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Ramirez is on track to embark on a minor league rehab assignment next week and is hoping to join the Dodgers after just three games on the farm.

Hanley was given an eight-week rehabilitation timetable when he tore a ligament in his right thumb while playing third base for the Dominican Republic in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He had surgery on March 22 and should be ready for activation by the second week of May. That’s a pretty remarkable recovery for a guy often labeled as apathetic.

The Dodgers have been using Justin Sellers and Luis Cruz at shortstop in Hanley’s absence.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to 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.