As if the Yordano Ventura news wasn’t enough to ruin every Royals fan’s day, now top prospect and 2012 fifth overall pick Kyle Zimmer has been shut down for 6-8 weeks with a strained lat muscle.
Zimmer hasn’t seen any game action this season and Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports that when he finally started to throw against live hitters in extended spring training last week “Zimmer felt tightness” and “his velocity dipped to 89 mph.”
Zimmer finished last season on a high note by posting a 1.93 ERA in four starts at Double-A, ranking as a consensus top 50 prospect and potentially clearing the way for a first-half debut for the Royals, but now it seems unlikely that he’ll reach the majors at all this season and getting cleared for minor-league games is no sure thing either.
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.