Add another item to baseball’s unwritten rulebook: don’t tag too hard. With two outs in the bottom of the third inning, Orioles third baseman Manny Machado was on his way to third base after Adam Jones hit a ground ball. Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson fielded the ball and ran towards Machado before tagging him for the final out of the inning.
Machado stumbled back and fired his helmet to the ground in Donaldson’s direction, which of course got Donaldson’s attention. Apparently, Machado felt that he was tagged too harshly. The two jawed at each other and the benches emptied. There were no punches thrown and no ejections. You can watch the events as they unfolded here.
Machado got his revenge, hitting a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth. In the top of the sixth, O’s starter Wei-Yin Chen brushed Donaldson back with a fastball, then came right back inside and hit him with another fastball. Chen was not ejected, and Donaldson didn’t do much in return other than flipping his arm guard. Stay tuned for more drama from Camden Yards.
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.