Joe Girardi on Ryan Dempster: ‘I wish he had to hit’

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Joe Girardi had about four hours to think about what he was going to say after getting tossed in the second inning on Sunday’s Yankees-Red Sox game. His response to Ryan Dempster seemingly intentionally throwing at and hitting Alex Rodriguez: “I wish he had to hit. That’s what I wish.”

So, basically, Girardi is saying that if Dempster had come to the plate, CC Sabathia would have drilled him in retaliation. At least, that’s what I’m gathering here. This despite the fact that:

A) Dempster is a terrible hitter and it’d be a stupid idea to take a sure out off the board and give the Red Sox a free baserunner with the Yankees needing to capitalize on every possible opportunity if they hope to make the playoffs

B) Sabathia would have been ejected immediately for throwing at Dempster and probably would have gotten a suspension on top of it

C) Sabathia and the Yankees pen had all night to retaliate against any one of nine Boston hitters they so chose, yet didn’t take it

We do hear this kind of thing once in a while, more so in years past when Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens were accused of headhunting. They’d never do that if they had to hit, right? But, of course, pitchers do hit in the National League, and it’s very rare to see them get thrown at. Did the Nationals target Braves pitchers when they were ticked off about Bryce Harper getting hit over the weekend? No, they drilled Justin Upton. NL pitchers have been hit by pitches 12 times all year, once every 323 plate appearances. The rest of the league gets hit once every 105 plate appearances.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to a 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.