Jerry Manuel: 'I'm going to stay with Ollie'

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Oliver Perez couldn’t make it out of the fourth inning last night despite being handed an early 3-0 lead, getting yanked after a four-pitch walk to opposing starter Charlie Haeger.
Perez has a decent-looking 4.25 ERA in four starts thanks largely to not serving up a homer yet, but has averaged just 5.1 innings per outing with more walks (16) than strikeouts (14).
Dating back to last season he’s now 3-6 with a 6.23 ERA and 78/72 K/BB ratio in 86.2 innings spread over 18 starts, but manager Jerry Manuel made it clear that his rotation spot is secure: “I’m going to stay with Ollie. I thought the night was a difficult night. It was very cold, windy. I think we need Ollie to get it right. We need Ollie to figure it out.”
Mark Hale of the New York Post suggests that Hisanori Takahashi could eventually replace Perez in the rotation, but then again Takahashi might first be needed if the Mets dump the equally struggling John Maine. Perez, who was booed off the mound at Citi Field, is making $12 million this season and is owed another $12 million next year.

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.