Hiroki Kuroda’s past neck problems “have resurfaced”

3 Comments

Hiroki Kuroda failed to make it out of the fifth inning yesterday and afterward admitted that the neck problems he’s struggled with in previous seasons are once again an issue.

Kuroda downplayed the severity, telling Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that “compared to what it’s been in the past it’s very mild.” However, he’s allowed 12 runs in his last 16.2 innings and explained: “My front shoulder has been opening up too quickly and my release point is off.”

Hernandez notes that Kuroda is scheduled to make three more starts this season, and is seven innings away from earning a $175,000 bonus and 17 innings away from getting another $200,000 bonus. That’s plenty of incentive to continue pitching through the pain.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

Getty Images
1 Comment

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.