Ryan Braun back in Brewers’ lineup and hitting second

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Ryan Braun left Thursday’s game with tightness in his right side, a concerning development after his recent DL-stint due to an oblique injury, but Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that he’s back in the starting lineup this afternoon against the Marlins.

Interestingly, Braun will hit second today. This will be the first time that he has batted anywhere other than third since September 10, 2010. It’s unclear whether Brewers manager Ron Roenicke plans to keep him there for an extended stretch, but many believe that teams should employ their best hitter out of the No. 2 spot. It should be an interesting situation to watch.

Braun, 30, is batting .289/.328/.529 with seven home runs and 19 RBI over 31 games this season.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to a 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.