San Francisco has pushed back Matt Cain’s first start of the second half so that he gets 12 days between outings and in doing so manager Bruce Bochy admitted to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com that Cain has been pitching through “crankiness” in his elbow since spring training.
The elbow has been cranky at times going back to the spring. It gets that way occasionally and he’s always pitched through it.
Not coincidentally, Cain is 2-7 with a career-worst 4.18 ERA in 15 starts, with the lowest strikeout rate of his decade-long career and his highest walk rate since 2008. Cain, who apparently never reveals much of anything to reporters about his health status, said only: “I’m feeling like I’m feeling.”
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.