Bryce Harper has no structural damage in his left knee

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Bryce Harper was spotted with a big brace on his troublesome left knee Tuesday morning in the Atlanta airport, on his way back from a visit to the office of one Dr. James Andrews. Which led many to speculate that Harper might have undergone some sort of knee procedure. But that’s not the case.

Nationals trainer Lee Kuntz clarified Tuesday to James Wagner of the Washington Post that the brace was part of a program of rest and that Harper was found to have no structural damage in his left knee during his time at Andrews’ facilities. Harper was given platelet-rich plasma treatment and a cortisone shot to help with his patellar bursitis.

“These are all good things,” Kuntz told the Post. “We want him to rest the knee, that’s why we put him in the immobilizer. We’ll reevaluate him in one week’s time and if everything’s a go then we will resume activity with him and get him going as quickly as we can. … We’ll see how it responds and we’ll go from there.”

Harper was officially placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 1, retroactive to May 27. He was eligible to return for Tuesday’s series opener in Colorado but is obviously going to need at least another 10 days.

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.