Matt Garza throws first bullpen session since July

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Matt Garza took a big step in his recovery from the elbow injury that ended his season, throwing a bullpen session yesterday for the first time since July.

“Matty looks like he is in great shape,” pitching coach Chris Bosio said, via Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago. “It looks like he worked hard in the offseason. His legs are in great shape and I believe he is ahead of where he was last year when he reported.”

Levine reports that Garza threw 30 pitches in front of Bosio and general manager Jed Hoyer, and barring a late setback it sounds like he’ll be fully healthy for spring training after avoiding arbitration with a one-year, $10.25 million deal.

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.