Coming off three straight losses, Stephen Strasburg bounced back against Miami on Sunday, pitching six scoreless innings as part of the Nationals’ 4-0 victory.
Strasburg struck out seven in improving to 10-4 with a 2.66 ERA for the season.
Minus All-Star Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins have scored a total of three runs in three games against the Nationals. They managed to win 2-1 on Saturday anyway.
Strasburg leads the National League with 135 strikeouts this season. Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty swore off strikeouts last week, saying his team is better off when the pitchers aren’t going for him. Strasburg, though, has averaged 13.0 strikeouts per nine innings in his 10 victories this year, compared to 9.4 between his eight losses and no-decisions.
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.