Johan Santana throws off a mound, feels good

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Stepping on a mound for the first time since September surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow, Johan Santana threw a 24-pitch bullpen session this afternoon at the Mets’ spring training complex in Florida and said afterward that he felt “very good.”
Santana noted that he’s now able to fully extend his arm, which was problematic last season and lessened the effectiveness of his amazing changeup. For now the plan is for Santana to wait until the second week of spring training to make his Grapefruit League debut and then gradually work his way up to throwing 90 pitches by Opening Day, but when the Mets and injuries are involved “plans” tend to change.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to 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.