28-year-old lefty Cory Luebke is working his way back from Tommy John surgery. Rather than return to the starting rotation, where he was when he was injured early in 2012, Padres GM Josh Byrnes suggested that Luebke could contribute out of the bullpen, according to Corey Brock on Twitter. The Padres are still looking for a lefty reliever.
Luebke started the 2011 season contributing out of the ‘pen, posting a 3.23 ERA in 39 innings. He was then moved into the starting rotation, compiling a 3.31 ERA in 100.2 innings spanning 17 starts through the end of the season. In the only five starts he made in 2012, Luebke posted a 2.61 ERA in 31 innings of work.
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.