There was a touching moment before tonight’s Red Sox/Rays game, as nine-year-old Alayna Adams threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Tropicana Field and was reunited with her dad in the process.
Army Lt. Col. Will Adams, who had been stationed in Afghanistan for the past year, was actually behind the plate decked out in full catcher’s gear. After he caught the pitch from his daughter, he took off the mask and the surprise reunion was on. You can watch the video here.
By the way, here’s a beautiful shot of the moment from Chris O’Meara of the Associated Press. As our own Craig Calcaterra would say, it’s gettin’ a little dusty in here.
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.