Stephen Strasburg is at his best following rare poor starts

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Rarely has Stephen Strasburg struggled in his brief but spectacular career, but when he does turn in a clunker the Nationals right-hander has done an amazing job bouncing back in his next start.

Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com crunched the numbers and found that Strasburg has allowed four or more earned runs just five times in 39 career starts. And in his five follow-up starts to those poor outings Strasburg is 4-0 with a 0.90 ERA.

That includes yesterday’s six shutout innings against the Marlins, which came after Strasburg allowed six runs in four innings versus the Phillies last week. With the win he improved to 12-5 with a 2.97 ERA and league-leading 160 strikeouts in 127 innings in his first full season back from Tommy John elbow surgery.

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.