Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez had no problems during a 35-pitch bullpen session Thursday, so Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that he’ll throw a simulated game Sunday and then hopefully be cleared for a minor-league rehab assignment next week.
Gonzalez has been on the disabled list since May 18 with shoulder inflammation, but now looks to be on track for a mid-June return to the Nationals’ rotation.
Gonzalez posted a 4.62 ERA in nine starts before being shut down, but his secondary numbers were right in line with his career norms and included 53 strikeouts in 51 innings.
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.