Grant Balfour, Victor Martinez jawing leads to benches clearing

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Grant Balfour says Victor Martinez gave him “the death stare” and things escalated from there. While no punches were thrown, things got quite heated in the ninth inning of Oakland’s Game 3 win over the Detroit on Monday, adding some extra drama headed into Game 4.

Here’s the video:

And here’s Balfour talking to CSNBayArea.com afterwards.

Martinez didn’t have anything to say after the game, but Tigers manager Jim Leyland just chalked it up to some extra playoff intensity, while adding that Balfour is always that intense anyway.

One thing that will be interesting to follow in Tuesday’s Game 4: Tigers starter Doug Fister finished second in the AL with 16 hit by pitches this year. It wouldn’t necessarily be intentional, but the A’s may decide to take it personally if they start getting plunked.

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.