Reds skipping Mike Leake’s turn in rotation to keep Johnny Cueto on normal rest

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Mike Leake has mostly struggled since throwing a one-run complete game against the Mets on August 15, allowing 24 runs and nine homers in 32 innings, and the Reds have announced plans to skip his next turn in the rotation.

Leake was slated to pitch Tuesday, but instead Johnny Cueto make that start against the Brewers on what will still be normal rest thanks to today’s open date on the schedule. Barring another change of plans Leake will then re-enter the rotation Saturday versus the Pirates.

That means the pitching matchups for the Cincinnati-Milwaukee series will be Cueto vs. Mike Fiers on Tuesday, Bronso Arroyo vs. Shaun Marcum on Wednesday, and Mat Latos vs. Wily Peralta on Thursday.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to 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.