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Phillies’ Steve Geltz suspended 100 games for third failed drug test


Phillies right-hander Steve Geltz received a 100-game suspension without pay after failing his third test for a “drug of abuse,” USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported Saturday. Geltz signed a minor league pact with the Phillies last month and was expected to provide bullpen depth for the club this season.

The 30-year-old righty was last seen in the majors with the 2016 Rays, when he posted a career-worst 5.74 ERA and -0.8 fWAR in 27 relief appearances. He spent the entirety of his 2017 season with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate and turned in a respectable 2.67 ERA, 4.0 BB/9 and 9.7 SO/9 over 27 innings. Until this weekend, he had not violated the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program since May 2014, when he was suspended 50 games following a second positive test for recreational marijuana use.

Geltz wasn’t the only one who got in hot water this weekend. Rays minor league catcher Nick Ciuffo, Padres minor league right-hander Alex Cunningham and Pirates minor league second baseman Mitchell Tolman each received 50-game suspensions without pay after testing positive for drugs of abuse. It marked the second such violation for Ciuffo and Tolman.

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.