Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto allowed just two runs over eight innings in a 3-2 victory over the Rockies last night at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. In doing so, he became the first pitcher in the majors to reach 15 wins this season.
Cueto gave up six hits and two walks while striking out six batters. The 28-year-old has now allowed two earned runs or fewer in six consecutive starts and hasn’t lost a start since July 2.
After being limited to just 11 starts last season due to injury, Cueto has compiled a 2.06 ERA over 26 starts this season while putting up the best strikeout (9.0 K/9) and walk rates (2.3 BB/9) of his career. His exploits are especially impressive when you consider that he makes half of his starts in the hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park. The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw still deserves to be the favorite for the National League Cy Young Award, but Cueto isn’t too far behind him.
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.