Johnny Cueto did not accompany the Reds to St. Louis

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Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch tweets that Reds starter Johnny Cueto did not travel with the team to St. Louis for this weekend’s series due to “a serious family issue.”

Given how badly “serious family issues” can suck, I would hope for Cueto’s sake that this is really a smokescreen created in order to keep him from having to walk the streets of St. Louis when everyone there hates his guts. Sadly, my guess is that the Reds aren’t so weird (nor is Cueto so nervous) that such a thing is likely. Here’s hoping his family issues are successfully and happily resolved.

For what it’s worth, Cueto wasn’t slated to start against the Cardinals this weekend, so his loss won’t be important from a baseball perspective.

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.