Joakim Soria throws off mound for first time since Tommy John surgery

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Joakim Soria may not be ready to join the Rangers’ bullpen until late May or early June, but he took a major step today in his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery.

Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas reports that Soria threw off a mound today for the first time since going under the knife last April. He threw a total of 15 pitches without incident. Assuming no setbacks, the plan is for him to throw every other day for the next 15 days.

The Rangers added Soria over the winter on a two-year, $8 million contract with a club option for a third year. Once he’s back to full health, he’s expected to operate as a set-up man for closer Joe Nathan.

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.