Just a couple weeks ago Brian Matusz was struggling in the minors following his demotion to Triple-A and complaining publicly about the changes Baltimore pitching coaches asked him to make this season.
However, yesterday Matusz threw a complete-game shutout at Triple-A and the Orioles dropped Chris Tillman from the rotation, leading Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun to speculate that Matusz could be back in the majors as soon as Tuesday.
That’s when Tillman was scheduled to make his next start and Connolly notes that Matusz’s velocity was up during yesterday’s gem, but also writes that the Orioles may be hesitant to recall him this soon because “if he’s not ready and gets clobbered again consistently at the big-league level, he may regress further.”
Perhaps, but if the Orioles want Matusz to be in the 2012 rotation they’re running out of time to let the former No. 4 overall pick show he’s ready and at an AL-worst 45-70 they aren’t playing for anything but draft position.
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.