Dan Haren had a sloppy start against the Reds yesterday, allowing two runs on nine hits in 5.2 innings, and afterward revealed that he’s going through a “dead arm” phase.
Haren downplayed the situation by telling Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times that he “should be fine” and “it usually lasts about a week or so.” He also described the issue as “your arm feels slow, that’s all it really is.”
His final spring training start is scheduled for Monday against the Dodgers and Haren has already built up his pitch count enough to begin the season. His first regular season start is set for April 7 versus the Royals.
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.