Erick Aybar contract talks heat up and other stuff

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto has said it's unlikely the team will sign shortstop Erick Aybar to a long-term contract extension before the season, but that doesn't mean he isn't working overtime on it.

Aybar's agents were at Tempe Diablo Stadium Thursday morning meeting with Dipoto. It was at least the second face-to-face meeting the sides have had since agent Fernando Cuza and his assistants arrived in Arizona on Monday. Aybar, a Gold Glove winner, is signed to a one-year, $5.075 million and is eligible for free agency this fall. It's believed he's seeking at least a five-year deal.

If the Angels can't sign Aybar before November, they could find the competition for his services prohibitive. Several big-market teams, including the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves, could be looking for a shortstop. ..

Pitcher Ervin Santana said he felt "way better," the day after being struck in the right shoulder by an Alexei Ramirez line drive. Santana is playing catch Thursday and, if he feels good afterward, will make his next scheduled start against the Colorado Rockies Monday. ..

Reliever Jason Isringhausen is scheduled to make his spring debut Friday. ..

The Angels made nine more cuts and have trimmed their spring roster to 44. The guys sent to minor-league camp were: Matt Shoemaker, Daniel Tillman, Matt Meyer, Robinzon Diaz, Doug Deeds, Johnny Hellweg, Ariel Pena, Fabio Martinez and Luis Jimenez.