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Yordano Ventura laid to rest

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Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, who was killed in an automobile accident early Sunday morning, was laid to rest yesterday in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic. This story from the Kansas City Star, who had reporters Vahe Gregorian and Maria Torres on the scene, is touching, evocative and above all sad.

The funeral took place on the field of the ballpark where he learned to play the game as a boy but was attended by the teammates with whom he scaled to baseball’s greatest heights, his manager Ned Yost and Royals general manager Dayton Moore.

Sal Perez gave the eulogy:

“He wasn’t just a teammate or a friend. He was a brother. We’ve known him since he started playing for Kansas City. His moments aside, he had a big heart. It’s incredibly sad what we’re going through right now . . . I regret the loss of our brother Ventura. Only God knows why he does these things. “I love you. And on behalf of the Kansas City Royals, I wish for all of you strength.”

Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Greg Holland, Jarrod Dyson and Chris Getz, sang at the ceremony.

Rest in peace, Yordano Ventura.

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.