Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch has an encouraging update on Cardinals left-hander Jaime Garcia, who’s trying to avoid surgery after being shut down with a shoulder injury.
Garcia threw 25 pitches off a mound yesterday and general manager John Mozeliak told Goold that he’s on track for a “normal offseason.”
There are still some big hurdles for Garcia to clear, but for now at least the Cardinals can pencil him into the Opening Day rotation and according to Mozeliak “the word surgery never came up” in discussions with the team’s medical staff this week.
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.