Andy Pettitte suffers setback during simulated game

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Andy Pettitte threw 50 pitches in a simulated game this afternoon, however Yankees manager Joe Girardi said the veteran left-hander was only able to throw at about  “75 percent effort” because he didn’t feel 100 percent with his groin according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.

As a result, Pettitte will rejoin the team in Kansas City on Saturday in order to be reevaluated. The Yankees don’t believe the setback is serious, however a potential minor league rehab appearance has been pushed back indefinitely.

Pettitte was originally expected to miss four to five weeks when he was placed on the disabled list with a Grade 1 strain of his left groin on July 20. There’s still a chance he’ll return within that window. Pettitte’s importance for a potential playoff series cannot be overstated, but we’re still a long way from panic mode here. 

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.