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Mark Melancon to be shut down for elbow surgery

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Giants’ right-hander Mark Melancon might be shut down from throwing soon, per comments by club manager Bruce Bochy on Friday. The closer is due for elbow surgery to correct an issue that has caused lingering discomfort since the 2012 season. No definite timeline has been put on the procedure just yet, but the recovery period is expected to take six to eight weeks and should give him ample time to work his way back by the start of spring training.

Melancon, 32, resumed his post in the Giants’ bullpen after initial reports of the injury surfaced in mid-August, and finished the month with a 3.95 ERA, 1.6 BB/9 and 8.6 SO/9 through 27 1/3 innings. He served two stints on the disabled list with a strained pronator muscle in his right forearm, but rebounded in August with six consecutive scoreless outings and five holds to bring his ERA under 4.00.

While it doesn’t look like Melancon’s forearm issues have resurfaced over the last several weeks, the Giants will err on the side of caution as the regular season winds down. Fellow right-hander Sam Dyson assumed the closer role during Melancon’s second trip to the DL and has regularly excelled in the ninth inning spot, posting 12 saves and a 2.22 ERA over 28 1/3 innings for the Giants this year.

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.