Andrew Bailey throws bullpen session, nears rehab stint

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Andrew Bailey has yet to pitch for the Red Sox thanks to a torn thumb ligament followed by a strained forearm, but the reliever threw a 20-pitch bullpen session yesterday without any problems.

Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston reports that Bailey is scheduled to throw another bullpen session Wednesday, at which point he could be cleared for a simulated game or perhaps even a minor-league rehab assignment.

A rehab stint would start the 30-day clock on his return ticking and Bailey guessed that he’d probably be asked to make 6-7 appearances in the minors before coming off the disabled list. Whether he’d return as the Red Sox’s closer is unclear, but either way Boston’s bullpen can certainly use the help from a pitcher who, between injuries, has posted a 2.07 ERA and 174 strikeouts in 174 career innings.

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.