Brandon McCarthy sounds off on pitcher helmets

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Pitcher safety is being talked about again after J.A. Happ was hit in the head by a line drive yesterday and Brandon McCarthy, who needed brain surgery after being struck by a line drive last season, posted some interesting thoughts on Twitter just now:

He’s right in that “make pitchers wear helmets” doesn’t solve anything because helmets won’t protect every spot on which a pitcher is vulnerable. There have been some recent inventions of modified helmets for pitchers that allege better protection–a padded hat, for instance–but so far at least they haven’t advanced to the point of being viable in the majors.

So yeah, I agree with McCarthy that someone shouting about what should be done right now is probably just shouting to shout, but as far as a general discussion about something it’s still pretty damn important and will hopefully convince some smart people to “get out their tool kits and make a good one

(Incidentally, you should follow McCarthy on Twitter because he’s funny and smart and interesting.)

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.