Matt Harvey hopes to start throwing on February 22

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Mets right-hander Matt Harvey is a severe long shot to throw a pitch in the majors this season, but he continues to make progress in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

According to Dan Martin of the New York Post, Harvey said Thursday that he’s aiming to begin throwing on February 22. That’s just two weeks from today.

“They said I should be able to start throwing four months after the surgery and that’s Feb. 22, and I haven’t had any setbacks,” Harvey, who had elbow surgery in October, told The Post.“I can’t wait. Even if it’s 10 feet, I just want to pick up a ball. As if right now, I don’t see why I wouldn’t be able to do that.”

During an appearance on WFAN yesterday, Harvey said that his rehab is going “really smoothly” and that he recently resumed regular weight training. He plans to report to spring training along with the other pitchers and catchers on February 15.

Harvey continues to hint at the possibility of pitching for the Mets before the end of the season, but MetsBlog notes that GM Sandy Alderson told a group of season-ticket holders Thursday that it’s unlikely he’ll pitch for the club this year even if they are in a pennant race. The typical recovery time from Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months. Harvey had his surgery on October 22 last year.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to a 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.