Ian Kinsler has been activated from the disabled list and will bat leadoff and play second base this afternoon against the Blue Jays. In turn, the Rangers have optioned Leury Garcia to Triple-A Round Rock and will keep Jurickson Profar around in a utility role.
Kinsler has been sidelined since May 17 due to a right intercostal strain, but he made it through two rehab games with Double-A Frisco without any issues. The 30-year-old returns to a .302/.369/.500 batting line to go along with seven home runs, 20 RBI, and three stolen bases in 40 games this season.
Profar, who was called up from the minors after Kinsler was injured, is batting .278/.326/.392 with two home runs, three doubles, and seven RBI in 87 plate appearances. It could be a challenge to get him enough at-bats to justify keeping him with the big club, so Anthony Andro of FOXSportsSouthwest.com notes that the Rangers plan to have him work with third base coach Gary Pettis on outfield drills. It should be an interesting situation to monitor.
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.