After a good rehab start at Double-A on Saturday, Bobby Valentine said that Daisuke Matsuzaka will make his next injury rehabilitation start for Triple A Pawtucket, and that it will be the third in what the Red Sox expect will be five minor league starts.
If that schedule holds, and if he sticks to a normal four days rests between starts, he would be available to pitch in the bigs as early as May 18.
He had been shooting for a June return. And given that he had his Tommy John surgery in early June last year, anything earlier than June would represent a pretty speedy recovery as far as these things go.
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.