Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Yankees manager Joe Girardi plans to write Jacoby Ellsbury’s name in the starting lineup when the Yankees wrap up spring training against the Marlins at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa on Saturday afternoon. Ellsbury has been dealing with a tight right calf since the middle of March, but if everything goes well on Saturday, he should be ready for Opening Day.
The Yankees signed the 30-year-old Ellsbury to a seven-year, $153 million contract in December. He has had injury problems in the past, playing in more than 75 games in just two of his previous four seasons. When he is healthy, however, he can be quite productive. The outfielder has led the league in stolen bases three times and joined the 30-homer club in 2011, when he was a runner-up in the AL MVP race to Justin Verlander.
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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.