Ben Zobrist will come off the disabled list and rejoin the Rays on Friday for the start of a three-game series against the Red Sox, returning after missing the past two weeks with a dislocated left thumb.
Zobrist suffered the injury on May 15 while sliding head-first into second base on a steal attempt and always hoped to miss the minimum of 15 days.
Sean Rodriguez and Logan Forsythe split time at second base in Zobrist’s absence and the Rays went 5-8 without him in the lineup. Zobrist hit .260 with three homers and a .716 OPS in 40 games before the injury, drawing more walks (23) than strikeouts (21).
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.