Stephen Strasburg to make two or three more starts

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Nationals manager Davey Johnson broke the news to Stephen Strasburg on the plane ride home Monday: the 24-year-old right-hander will “probably” make just two or three more starts this season.

Johnson says he has a “pretty firm plan” for Strasburg, but it’s based on how many innings the right-hander pitches in his next starts. Strasburg is currently at 150 1/3 innings. Speculation all year is that he’d be shut down once he reached 160 innings.

Strasburg is slated to make his next start at home against the Cardinals on Sunday. His final outing will probably come at home against the Marlins on Sept. 7 or on the road in New York on Sept. 12.

The Nationals will likely plug John Lannan into Strasburg’s rotation spot. Assuming that they hold on to win the NL East, they could use a rotation with a top three of Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson in October. Ross Detwiler would be favored over Lannan for the fourth spot.

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.