It came as no surprise when Red Sox manager John Farrell announced this afternoon that Jon Lester will start Game 1 of the World Series against the Cardinals on Wednesday, but there could be a change in store for Game 2.
While Clay Buchholz started Game 2 of the ALCS against the Tigers, Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com writes that “all indications are” the Red Sox will go with John Lackey for Game 2 of the Fall Classic. Lackey started Game 2 during the ALDS against the Rays, but he was pushed back to Game 3 for the ALCS.
Lackey tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings in his ALCS start and has thrived at Fenway Park all season, so it’s understandable why Farrell is considering switching things up. The Cardinals haven’t made their Game 2 starter official yet either, but NLCS MVP Michael Wacha is expected to get the call.
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.