Stephen Strasburg adds curveballs to his throwing sessions

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Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg threw fastballs at full effort earlier this week for the first time since undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last September.

On Thursday, according to beat writer Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, the 22-year-old phenom began working in curveballs.

Strasburg has experienced no setbacks in his surgically-repaired right elbow since beginning a throwing program in early February and could begin pitching in minor league rehab games later this summer if everything continues to go smoothly.

The Nats haven’t completely ruled out the possibility of him returning to the majors at some point in 2011, but it’s highly unlikely to happen. Strasburg is simply too important to the franchise’s long-term hope for success.

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.