Making official what was expected, the White Sox have ruled out left-hander Chris Sale for Opening Day due to the avulsion fracture in his right foot.
Executive vice president Kenny Williams told Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com that Sale is still at least 10 days from resuming baseball activities and the White Sox start the season against the Royals on April 6.
Sale was the Opening Day starter in 2013 and 2014, and is coming off a dominant season in which he threw 174 innings with a 2.17 ERA and 208/39 K/BB ratio at age 25.
Jeff Samardzija seems like the leading candidate to take the Opening Day assignment in Sale’s place.
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.