USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that Twins minor league infielder Jonatan Hinojosa has been suspended 50 games after testing positive for metabolites of Nandrolone. Nandrolone is an anabolic steroid commonly used to treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. The athletic benefits of the drug include muscle growth, increased bone density, and increased red blood cell production.
The Twins signed Hinojosa as a non-drafted free agent in 2009. The 21-year-old is in A-ball with Cedar Rapids of the Midwest League for the first time in his professional career. He went hitless in the only game he has played thus far on April 23.
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.