Clay Buchholz says he has “finally turned a corner” in his recovery from neck, shoulder pain

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Evan Drellich, beat writer for MassLive.com, tells the story:

BOSTON — Maybe Clay Buchholz will need just one rehab start after all.

That’s a scenario the Red Sox right-hander suggested was possible Wednesday, on a day he said he felt like he had “finally turned a corner” in his recovery from right-shoulder bursitis. He threw from about 100 feet on flat ground, and would need to get to 120 feet before stepping on a mound.

“I feel like I am finally getting close to feeling pretty much normal now,” Buchholz told reporters following Wednesday afternoon’s 100-foot throwing session. “So the last few days of throwing are encouraging. I’m finally able to clear my head a little bit and go about it as just getting back to getting off the mound.”

Buchholz has not pitched in a game since June 8 due to neck and shoulder discomfort.

The hope is that he’ll be ready to return to the Red Sox rotation shortly after the All-Star break.

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.