While it’s not clear how much he’ll play, Matt Kemp has been activated from the disabled list by the Dodgers.
Kemp has been sidelined since July 21 with a sprained left ankle. The 28-year-old outfielder had a minor setback earlier this month due to renewed tightness in his right hamstring, but he has been able to ramp up baseball activities in recent days. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles that Kemp looked “tentative” while running the bases during pregame warm-ups, so he’ll only be available in a pinch-hitting capacity initially.
Between his struggles following shoulder surgery and ankle and hamstring injuries, this has mostly been a lost season for Kemp. Limited to just 62 games, he is batting just .263/.319/.382 with five home runs and 27 RBI over 251 plate appearances. He’s obviously not 100 percent quite yet, but the Dodgers are still hoping he can contribute come playoff time.
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.