Pirates closer Jason Grilli is off the disabled list after missing the past month with a strained oblique muscle.
Grilli saved 33 games last season and another four games this year before going on the disabled list, but it’s possible the Pirates will ease him back into the bullpen mix in a low-leverage role because of how well Mark Melancon has fared filling in at closer.
Melancon has eight saves with a 2.05 ERA and 15/5 K/BB ratio in 22 innings this season after making the All-Star team last year on the way to posting a 1.39 ERA in 71 innings.
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.