UPDATE: Duchscherer departs with hip injury

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duchscherer throwing.jpgUPDATE: Duchscherer told Slusser that the injury feels
“identical” to a previous right hip injury that required two surgeries.  Not good.  MLB.com’s Jane Lee writes that he will get an MRI on Friday.

8:55pm:  The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser passes along word that right-handed starter Justin Duchscherer was lifted from Thursday’s game in the fourth inning due to what is being called a “left hip injury.”

The “Duke of Hurl” has a long history of ailments, so this is one to monitor.  He waived off trainers when they tried to meet him on the mound initially, but Oakland manager Bob Geren overruled and sent his starter into the clubhouse.  Duchscherer had allowed five hits and two earned runs over 3 1/3 innings to the Blue Jays. 

Jerry Blevins came on in relief.  The A’s will reevaluate Duchscherer on Friday morning and will hope that he doesn’t require any more time on the disabled list.  He entered the Thursday outing with a 2-0 record, 1.82 ERA and 1.26 WHIP through four starts.

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.