Adam LaRoche out Saturday with back stiffness

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According to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, Adam LaRoche is out of today’s lineup against the Reds due to a stiff back. He has been dealing with the issue over the past couple of days and made an early exit from last night’s 15-0 blowout loss after his condition worsened.

It doesn’t sound like a major concern at the moment, but there’s a chance that LaRoche could also sit out tomorrow. Chad Tracy will make the start at first base this afternoon with right-hander Mike Leake on the hill for Cincinnati.

LaRoche, 33, batted .271/.343/.510 with 33 home runs, 100 RBI and an .853 OPS last season. He was retained by Washington this winter on a two-year, $24 million contract with a mutual option for 2015.

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.