Clay Buchholz shaky in first rehab outing

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Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz was expected to make two Minor League rehab appearances before rejoining the Major League squad, but he started off on the wrong foot this afternoon. Given a pitch count between 45 and 50 pitches, Buchholz threw 38 and did not make it out of the first inning, walking the final two batters he faced, reports Gordon Edes of ESPN.

Buchholz last pitched in a Major League game on June 8 against the Angels. He landed on the disabled list with bursitis in his right shoulder. At the time of his injury, he was a front-runner for the American League Cy Young award, owning a 1.71 ERA in 84.1 innings over 12 starts.

The organization expects him to make another rehab outing on Friday. Whether that start is with Triple-A Pawtucket or Double-A Portland has not been determined yet.

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.