Former Rays INF Willy Aybar is apparently back in baseball, having signed with Edmonton of the independent North American Baseball League, according to the league website.
Aybar spent three seasons with the Rays, helping them win two division titles. The Rays declined his option after last season, and there was no word of his status for months, or any explanation why he hadn't signed with any other team.
Here is the release:
Edmonton, AB - Director of Baseball Operations Gord Gerlach announced today the Edmonton Capitals signed infielder Willy Aybar for the 2011 season.
The 6', 205lbs infielder comes to the Capitals with Major League experience spanning from 2005-2010. The Dominican Republic native was originally and undrafted free agent signing of the Los Angeles Dodgers and has seen time with Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, and the Tampa Bay Rays organizations. Aybar appeared in 405 Major League contests and most recently, was with the Tampa Bay Rays when they ended their 2010 postseason with an appearance in the American League Division Series.
"One important thing about Willy is that he is a versatile player who can play all three base positions, and play them well." said Gerlach. "He is also a switch hitter and has the power and capability to hit in the middle of the lineup. This is also an important signing for the Capitals because our starting third baseman from last season, Alex Prieto, is doubtful to check in at training camp this year, and by signing Willy we are filling a significant gap in the roster with a talented player."
Willy Aybar, along with the rest of the current roster, will be attending training camp in Scottsdale, Arizona from May 13th - 24th. The Capitals will then finalize their roster and officially begin their season on May 26th with a four game road series against the Calgary Vipers.