MLB.com’s Mandy Bell reports that the Indians activated outfielder Michael Brantley from the paternity list and placed him on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained right ankle. According to manager Terry Francona, the ankle injury “has been bothering [Brantley] for a while.”
Brantley, 30, last played on Wednesday when he doubled twice in a 6-4 loss to the Dodgers. Overall, he’s hitting .296/.360/.432 with five home runs and 28 RBI in 228 plate appearances.
Brantley played in only 11 games last season and has played in just 54 games this season, so the Indians are used to playing without him. Dan Robertson started in left field in Brantley’s place in each of the last five games and that figures to be the case while Brantley is absent. Austin Jackson could also draw some starts.
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.