Rafael Soriano unavailable for two-game series against Rays

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Rafael Soriano won’t be facing his old teammates in a two-game series that begins tonight, as the reliever’s elbow soreness will keep him unavailable against the Rays.

Soriano walked two in a scoreless inning Friday for his only action since May 8, but told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com that he’s hoping to throw a problem-free bullpen session today and be cleared to return Wednesday.

Joe Girardi suggested that Soriano’s current soreness is “because he hadn’t thrown in five days” rather than his previous elbow problems remaining an issue. Soriano has recovered from a terrible first two weeks with the Yankees to allow just three runs in his last 10 appearances, reducing his ERA from 8.10 to 5.40, but the $35 million free agent signing certainly isn’t off to a great start in New York.

UPDATE: Marc Carig of the Newark Star Ledger reports that Soriano “felt stiffness again during his bullpen” session today, so it looks like a Wednesday return is probably optimistic.

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.