Danny Duffy likely headed for Tommy John elbow surgery

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UPDATE: After being examined by the Royals’ team doctor Duffy has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament, which is the injury that requires Tommy John surgery. He’ll seek a second opinion from Dr. Lewis Yocum first, but it looks like season-ending surgery for the promising left-hander. What a shame.

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Danny Duffy exited yesterday’s start in the first inning with a sore elbow and the Royals left-hander is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam today.

Duffy faced just three hitters before noticeably shaking his arm in discomfort, at which point manager Ned Yost and a trainer made a mound visit and removed him from the game.

Yost said afterward that he wasn’t going to take any changes with the 23-year-old Duffy, who also missed a start with elbow tightness three weeks ago.

Kansas City is very deep in young hitting talent, but losing Duffy would be a big blow to a pitching staff that still needs plenty of help. After a rough rookie season Duffy has thrown 28 innings with a 3.90 ERA and 28/18 K/BB ratio while showing off impressive fastball velocity.

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.