Nationals place Dan Haren on the disabled list

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“There’s aches and pains,” Nationals starter Dan Haren told reporters Saturday. “Nothing I haven’t pitched through in the past. Physically, I’m OK.”

But the club’s decision-makers seem to disagree.

According to Amanda Comak of the Washington Times, the Nationals are placing Haren on the 15-day disabled list. The right-hander did have back problems earlier this season and that’s likely the injury that will be cited when the transaction is made official. But this reads like more of a phantom thing, designed to get Haren some time off and a couple of starts against minor league competition.

Haren allowed six earned runs over 3 1/3 innings on Saturday against the Rockies and owns a brutal 6.15 ERA through his first 82 innings this season. He signed a one-year, $13 million deal this past winter.

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UPDATE, 5:06 PM ET: Haren has a stiff shoulder, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.

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.