Cal Ripken Jr. can go ahead and pop some bubbly.
As noted by MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat, Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro is not in the starting lineup for Tuesday night’s game against the Brewers. It is the first time he’s been absent from Chicago’s order in the last 269 games, which was the longest active consecutive starts streak in the National League.
Castro is batting .228/.264/.318 with three home runs and 24 RBI in 326 plate appearances this season for the Cubs. He hit .283/.323/.430 with 14 homers in 2012 and .307/.341/.432 with 10 homers in 2011.
Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder is baseball’s active “Iron Man” with 416 straight starts.
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.