The Braves weren’t the only first-place team who lost a player due to a hamstring injury tonight. According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday made an early exit from tonight’s game against the Cubs due to what is being called right hamstring tightness.
Holliday suffered the injury on a ground out to shortstop in the top of the fourth inning. The severity of the issue isn’t yet known, but the Cardinals could play short-handed for now in hopes that he makes progress over the All-Star break.
Holliday is having a down season for his usual lofty standards, batting .268/.351/.448 with 13 home runs and 47 RBI through 83 games. The Cardinals have the ability to use Allen Craig in left field and Matt Adams at first base if he needs to miss time. Not too bad as far as backup plans go.
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.