Brian Matusz rocked again as ERA rises to 9.07

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Brian Matusz’s miserable season continued yesterday, as he served up three homers and allowed six runs in 5.1 innings against the Yankees, falling to 1-7 with a 9.07 ERA in nine starts.

Matusz had a very promising rookie season last year and the 24-year-old left-hander looked like a big part of the Orioles’ long-term plans, but he missed the first two months of this season with an intercostal strain and then pitched his way back to the minors once healthy.

When the Orioles called him back up two weeks ago they seemed optimistic that he’d worked out some mechanical kinks and rediscovered his lost velocity, but in three starts since then Matusz has allowed 18 runs in 16 innings while opponents bat .348 with a 1.085 OPS.

He’ll get a chance to improve his numbers down the stretch, but right now the former No. 4 overall pick has joined Chien-Ming Wang in 2009 as the only pitchers since 2005 to throw at least 40 innings with an ERA above 9.00. Wang didn’t get a chance to improve on his 9.64 ERA late in the season because he underwent shoulder surgery from which he’s just now getting back on track.

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.