Stephen Strasburg has been scratched from tonight’s start against the Phillies with what the Nationals are calling forearm tightness. Ross Ohlendorf is starting his his place.
Last season Strasburg threw his final pitch on September 7, as the Nationals shut him down for the stretch run and postseason after he logged 159 innings in his first full year back from Tommy John surgery. This season Strasburg has thrown 170 innings–with a 2.96 ERA and the fourth-best strikeout rate in the league–and there were no plans to shut him down.
UPDATE: Chase Hughes of CSNWashington.com reports that “Strasburg felt the forearm tightness … during a bullpen session” and manager Davey Johnson indicated that he was working on a new pitch at the time.
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.