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Angels, Erick Aybar agree to four-year contract extension

The deal, reportedly worth $35 million, is expected to be announced Thursday when Aybar is presented with his 2011 Gold Glove Award.

April 18, 2012|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Angels shortstop Erick Aybar leaps into the air while turning a double play against the Minnesota Twins in August. Aybar has agreed to a four-year deal with the Angels.
Angels shortstop Erick Aybar leaps into the air while turning a double play… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

The Angels have agreed to terms with Gold Glove-winning shortstop Erick Aybar on a four-year contract extension, reportedly worth $35 million, and the deal will be announced at an informal luncheon at the ESPN Zone in Anaheim on Thursday.

"It took a while," said General Manager Jerry Dipoto, who has been negotiating with Aybar's agents since early January, "but I don't think there was ever a thought that we wouldn't get to this point."

Aybar, a career .274 hitter, probably could have made more had he opted for free agency, and agent Fernando Cuza, who attended Wednesday night's game, advised Aybar that big-market teams such as the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets could drive up the market for the switch-hitter.

"But I feel good here," said Aybar, who is playing this season under a one-year, $5.075-million deal. "I'm doing this because I really like this team. They've given me a lot of support. Even when I was a nobody in the Dominican Republic, they supported me."

With Aybar's new contract starting in 2013, and second baseman Howie Kendrick in the first year of a four-year, $33.5-million deal, the Angels have locked up a solid double-play combination through at least 2015.

"It's not always about money," said Kendrick, who also signed what some consider a team-friendly contract. "It's about playing the game, doing what you love and being happy where you're at.

"You're going to make a lot of money playing the game. Just because you have the chance to hit free agency, not everyone wants to do that."

Aybar hit .250 with a career-high 10 home runs, 33 doubles, 59 runs batted in and 30 stolen bases in 2011 but is off to a slow start (.171) this season and did not start Wednesday night.

"It's a little recharge day for him," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's definitely been pressing."

Sick day

Fans clamoring for Mark Trumbo to play more were surely disappointed that the slugger was not in the lineup for a third straight game.

Turns out, there was reason. Trumbo, batting .375 with two homers but struggling defensively making the transition to third base, is suffering from flu-like symptoms and was unable to do early defensive work or take part in batting practice.

With left-handers starting for Oakland and Baltimore in three of the next four games, Scioscia said Trumbo probably will play more through the weekend.

Since committing three errors in two of the Angels' first three games, Trumbo has made one start at third.

Short hops

Reliever Bobby Cassevah, on the disabled list because of shoulder inflammation, is scheduled to throw in back-to-back games for Class-A Inland Empire Friday and Saturday. Barring a setback, he could be activated for next week's trip to Tampa Bay and Cleveland. … Bobby Abreu led off Wednesday night for the first time since Aug. 28, 2010. He'd previously made 49 career starts in the leadoff spot, with a .286 average, nine home runs and 20 RBIs.

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