Uh-oh: What's up with Zimmermann?

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Potentially bad news coming out of Washington.

Rookie Jordan Zimmermann has been on the disabled list due to soreness in
his pitching elbow since July 19, which was concerning enough, but on
Saturday afternoon the Nationals announced that they were sending the
results of a second MRI to Dr. James Andrews.

Naturally, anytime you
hear elbow and Dr. James Andrews in the same sentence, it’s not a good
thing:


“There was some concerning facts on the MRI that was read by our team
Dr. Wiemi Douoguih,” interim GM Mike Rizzo said. “We’ve sent the films
over to Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, who is going to read them
Monday and we’ll have a more definitive answer on Monday where Jordan
is with his elbow.”

Rizzo couldn’t elaborate about what Dr. Douoguih saw, but it’s
clearly of great concern for the organization. Rizzo said his concern
about Zimmermann is “ramped up.”

The 3-5 record and 4.63 ERA might not show it, but the 23-year-old
right-hander has managed a pretty nice rookie season,
compiling 9.1 K/9 and a 92/29 K/BB ratio in 91 1/3 innings. What I find
most encouraging about his long-term potential is the fact that he
pitched that well with the league’s worst defense behind him, suffering through an unlucky 67.5% strand rate and .339 BABIP. If we
were to take defense out of the equation, he actually pitched to a 3.57 FIP. Hopefully he can still realize that potential. 

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to a 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.