Brandon Beachy throws for first time since elbow surgery

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Brandon Beachy was leading the league in ERA when he was shut down with an elbow injury in June and underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery.

Yesterday the Braves right-hander threw for the first time since going under the knife, telling Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal Constitution that he “felt giddy, like a little kid” and “it was fun.”

In this case “throwing” means simply playing catch from a distance of about 30 feet, so Beachy is a long way from re-entering the Braves’ plans, but as he said “it’s better than nothing.”

A typical recovery timetable would potentially make him an option for the Braves around midseason, although that’s far from guaranteed even if Kris Medlen’s amazing return from Tommy John surgery has everyone thinking about best-case scenarios.

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.