Yesterday, Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista retired Royals DH Billy Butler on what appeared to be a line drive single to right field. Bautista fired a laser to first baseman Edwin Encarnacion to retire the slow-footed Butler before he could touch the first base bag.
The Royals were victimized by the 9-3 putout again on Friday night, again by Bautista. Second baseman Omar Infante hit a bloop down the right field line. He assumed it would land in uncaught in foul territory, so he turned his back and didn’t run to first base. Bautista slid, snagged the ball on a hop, and fired to first base before a recovering Infante was within five steps of the bag. Watch:
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.