ALCS, Game 4: Red Sox-Tigers lineups

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Lineups for Game 4 in Detroit …

Red Sox:
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
RF Shane Victorino
2B Dustin Pedroia
DH David Ortiz
1B Mike Napoli
LF Daniel Nava
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
SS Stephen Drew
3B Will Middlebrooks

SP Jake Peavy

Switch-hitter Daniel Nava and his .322 batting average versus right-handed pitching is finally back in the lineup after Red Sox manager John Farrell repeatedly benched him in favor of righty bat Jonny Gomes. Beyond that it’s a typical Boston lineup.

Tigers:
RF Torii Hunter
3B Miguel Cabrera
1B Prince Fielder
DH Victor Martinez
LF Jhonny Peralta
C Alex Avila
2B Omar Infante
CF Austin Jackson
SS Jose Iglesias

SP Doug Fister

See, now this is interesting. Tigers manager Jim Leyland has dropped slumping leadoff man Austin Jackson into the eighth spot and moved everyone else up, which means Torii Hunter is batting leadoff for the first time since 1999 and Miguel Cabrera is hitting second. Statistical studies have shown that a team’s best hitter should typically bat No. 2, but obviously most managers don’t buy into that. Cabrera has hit second just twice in his career, both in 2004 when he was a 21-year-old with the Marlins. Jhonny Peralta is back in the outfield, with Jose Iglesias manning shortstop, and perhaps the biggest surprise of the entire lineup is that Leyland didn’t find a way to start Don Kelly somewhere.

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.