Blue Jays remove Dustin McGowan from rotation

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Dustin McGowan made for a interesting comeback story after earning a spot in the Blue Jays’ rotation out of spring training, but the club has decided to move him back to the bullpen after eight starts.

It’s probably for the best. McGowan, who has dealt with all sorts of injuries in recent years, allowed four runs in four innings against the Indians last night and owns a 5.08 ERA and 25/17 K/BB ratio over 39 innings this season. While the 32-year-old right-hander has already thrown his most innings in the majors since 2008, he averaged fewer than five innings per start. He told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca that he knew a change was likely necessary after he had increased difficulty recovering between starts.

“After the Pittsburgh start (May 4), I just noticed it was getting more and more sore after every start,”he said. “When I started noticing stuff out of the normal, I knew it was time to probably say something to them about it. … I just didn’t want it to lead to something worse.”

McGowan will now return to the bullpen, where he posted a 2.45 ERA in 25 appearances last season. The Blue Jays have yet to decide who to replace him in the rotation, but top prospect Marcus Stroman and Todd Redmond are the most likely options.

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.