Jaime Garcia, who underwent surgery to repair a torn shoulder labrum in May, is now “on the same schedule as the other starters” in Cardinals camp, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
Garcia is under contract for $7.75 million this season (and $9.25 million in 2015) and posted a 3.89 ERA in 29 starts during the past two years despite pitching at less than full strength for much of that time:
It was pain. It was a lot of pain. During the game. After the game. Pain every single pitch. I was still trying to find ways to get people out. My stuff was good. My mechanics were good. But it was not fun. Not fun. Not fun having to go through that.
He has a lengthy injury history, so counting on Garcia to be healthy is always a leap of faith, but getting him back to his old self would provide a nice boost to what is already a fantastic Cardinals rotation.
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.