Justin Morneau finally cleared to resume workouts

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Twins first baseman Justin Morneau suffered a concussion on a slide into second base up in Toronto this past season and never returned to the playing field.

He could barely even work out because of headaches related to the concussion and wound up missing a total of 78 regular season games and then the ALCS.

Things have improved.

According to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Morneau began doing cardio exercises this week and should resume baseball-related activities soon.

“The road to recovery is going well,” Morneau wrote in an e-mail to the Star Tribune. “I started working out again this week, and I am feeling pretty good. It has been a long and frustrating road, but feels good to be able to function normally on a day-to-day basis.  The first couple of workouts have gone well, and I am sure I will be more than over-anxious to get spring training and the season started once February rolls around.”

Morneau hit .345/.437/.618 with 18 home runs and 56 RBI in 81 games this year before going down.

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.