Mariners option Jesus Montero to Triple-A to make room for Kendrys Morales

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The Mariners have optioned DH Jesus Montero to Triple-A Tacoma to make room for Kendrys Morales, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports. Morales is in the Mariners’ starting lineup tonight, batting clean-up against the Orioles.

Morales rejoined the Mariners in a trade yesterday which sent Stephen Pryor to the Twins. The 31-year-old 1B/DH didn’t have a great start with the Twins, posting a disappointing .234/.259/.325 slash line with one home run and 18 RBI in 162 plate appearances. The Twins had signed him to a one-year deal worth a prorated $14 million on June 8.

Montero, 24, performed poorly in a handful of plate appearances at the major league level, slashing .235/.235/.412 with one home run and two RBI in 17 trips to the plate. To his credit, Montero has performed well with Tacoma, where he has spent a vast majority of his season, but the Mariners would prefer to see him translate that into success in the majors.

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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.