Tyler Lyons will take Joe Kelly’s rotation spot

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The Cardinals have decided on a fill-in for starting pitcher Joe Kelly, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday afternoon with a strained left hamstring that he suffered Wednesday at Miller Park in Milwaukee while trying to beat out a groundball.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch it’ll be 26-year-old left-hander Tyler Lyons, and he will make his first start Monday evening in the Cards’ series-opener versus the Mets at Citi Field.

Lyons will likely remain in the St. Louis rotation for two turns, assuming Kelly’s hamstring strain isn’t too severe. Carlos Martinez — who nearly won the fifth starter spot over Kelly this spring — will remain in a setup role for now.

Lyons threw seven innings of one-run ball Wednesday for Triple-A Memphis. He had a 4.75 ERA, 1.226 WHIP, and 43/16 K/BB ratio in 53 innings last season as an emergency starter and long reliever for the Cardinals.

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.