As of last week Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley was making steady progress in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, but his minor-league rehab assignment has been shut down after he complained of elbow soreness.
Billingsley underwent surgery 14 months ago and had been talking about possibly rejoining the Dodgers in early July, with speculation about what his role would be given their rotation depth. Now that’s a moot point, at least for a while, and the Dodgers will wait to hear if the news is bad enough to derail his comeback.
Before the injury Billingsley was a very solid mid-rotation starter for the Dodgers, posting a 3.66 ERA in 1,163 innings from 2006-2012, but his rehab from Tommy John surgery has now been halted on two different occasions.
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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.