Must-click link: The Tigers do a fan and his kids a solid

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I follow Mike Gentz on Twitter. Mostly because his avatar is Wooderson from “Dazed and Confused.” Also because he’s around my age and his youthful baseball memories — centering on the Ralph Houk/Les Moss/Sparky Anderson Tigers — match my own pretty perfectly. Oh, and he’s a nice guy too.

Unfortunately, he and his two boys have had a horrible, awful year as Mike’s wife Dawn died of melanoma in April. Watching him from afar, via Twitter, as he has dealt with his loss while being there for his boys, running a business and still trying to keep up with his beloved Detroit Tigers has been at turns sad, funny, touching and always moving. Life goes on, even when it’s hard.

Recently the Detroit Tigers did something really nice for Mike: they invited him and his sons to Comerica Park for a day with the team. Mike wrote it up today over at the Bless You Boys blog.  You want to go check it out now.

Great job, Tigers. And great job Mike.

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.