Andy Dirks shut down with pain in surgically-repaired back

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Tigers outfielder Andy Dirks had back surgery at the beginning of spring training and has yet to appear in a major league game this season. He’s not getting any closer either. From Jason Beck of MLB.com …

The Tigers announced Wednesday that they’ve recalled Dirks from his rehab assignment with Class A Lakeland, and will keep him on the disabled list. The move came from what the Tigers are calling lower back muscular inflammation from increased activity.

Dirks was 5-for-16 with with a double, an RBI, and four runs scored through six games with the Lakeland Flying Tigers. He can now probably be ruled out until at least mid-August.

The 28-year-old owns a decent .276/.332/.413 career batting line in 297 major league games.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to 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.