Ryan Braun decides he can’t keep playing through lingering thumb injury

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Ryan Braun is out of the Brewers’ lineup for today’s game against the Twins and may end up missing multiple games because of a thumb injury.

Braun told Adam McCalvy of MLB.com that he initially hurt his right thumb two weeks ago and has “basically been swinging with one hand for two weeks.” And it’s actually worked, because Braun has hit .326 with an .892 OPS during that time.

Braun expressed frustration about the injury getting worse rather than improving, which suggests it could be a lingering issue for a while. Or as the former MVP put it: “It’s just at the point where I need to take the time to get it close to being healthy so I can contribute and do the things I’m used to doing.”

UPDATE: Braun pinch-hit in the ninth inning this afternoon and lined out to end the game.

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.