Shortstop Hanley Ramirez went 3-for-4 with an RBI double and a solo home run on Friday against the Padres, but exited in the eighth inning after injuring his left leg. He was initially not in Saturday’s starting lineup, with Miguel Rojas in shortstop in his stead. But after a quick workout in front of manager Don Mattingly and trainer Stan Conte, Ramirez squeaked his way into the lineup, as Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports.
Ramirez had spent time on the disabled list between August 9-24 with a strained oblique. Though nagged by myriad injuries throughout the year, it was his first stint on the disabled list this season.
Over 422 plate appearances, Ramirez has been quite productive, slashing .276/.363/.457 with 13 home runs, 60 RBI, and 12 stolen bases. He can become a free agent after the season.
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.