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Zack Wheeler has been injecting bone growth drug into stomach

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Mets starter Zack Wheeler has been injecting a bone growth drug into his stomach daily for the last six months in an attempt to prevent injury, Kevin Kernan of the New York Post reports. The drug is called Forteo and helps to form new bone, increase bone mineral density, and increase bone strength.

Wheeler said, “You do a shot in your stomach every day for six months. It’s not fun, but you got to do it. They give it to people with brittle bones, osteoporosis. My arm feels great. I’ve been on the mound six times now so if this helps me get to 30 starts, I’m all for it.”

Wheeler, 27, missed the entire 2015 and ’16 seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He struggled over 17 starts last year before his season ended on July 22 due to a stress reaction in his right arm. Wheeler debuted in 2013 but has made only 66 starts in his major league career due to injury, so it’s understandable why he’s going to great lengths to try to stay healthy.

“I’m just kind of tired of getting labeled as unreliable, as ‘He’s always hurt.’ I missed two seasons but that was because of one injury. I can’t help that. I worked my butt off in rehab, was doing great and then this bone issue,” Wheeler said.

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.