Madison Bumgarner to start vs. Red Sox on Saturday

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According to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, the Giants will call up Madison Bumgarner to start against the Red Sox on Saturday.

Bumgarner was scratched from his start for Triple-A Fresno on Friday night, but the Giants downplayed the whole situation at first, saying that he would only be used if Joe Martinez was needed in relief on Friday night. While Martinez did warm up, he never entered the game. Still, after Friday’s game, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said they “needed a fresh arm.” In other words, the Giants probably intended to go with Bumgarner all along.

The 20-year-old left-hander had a chance to make the team out of spring training, but gave up five runs over seven innings (6.43 ERA) while showing decreased velocity, eventually losing the fifth starter gig to Todd Wellemeyer. Bumgarner has turned it around since then, going 7-1 with a 3.16 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP over 14 starts with Triple-A Fresno, touching 90-93 mph on the radar gun in recent starts.

The 2007 first-round pick posted a 1.80 ERA in three relief appearances and one start as a September call-up last season. Despite concerns about his velocity, Baseball America ranked him as the No. 14 prospect in all of baseball over the winter.

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.