Mike Scioscia: Josh Hamilton is “not the same player” he was with the Rangers

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Angels manager Mike Scioscia wasn’t very complimentary of outfielder Josh Hamilton, as Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports. Hamilton went 1-for-4 with a double and three strikesouts in Saturday’s 5-4 win over the Rangers, a day after going 1-for-5 with a single and four strikeouts in another 5-4 win over the Rangers.

Here’s what Scioscia had to say about his outfielder:

“Josh is not the same that we saw when we were looking at the other dugout,” Scioscia said. “He’s not in the batter’s box with the confidence we know he has. He’s not attacking the ball like he can. He’s working hard to try to find it …but we need him to do what he’s capable of doing, or close to that.”

Hamilton entered Sunday’s action with only eight home runs, 35 RBI, and a .266/.339/.414 slash line in 313 plate appearances. The 33-year-old veteran missed about two months of the season between early April and early June after undergoing surgery on the UCL ligament in his left thumb. Hamilton has been underwhelming in two seasons with the Angels after signing a five-year, $125 million contract in December 2012.

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.