Carl Pavano and his mustache are eating innings for Twins

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Minnesota’s bullpen was gassed after Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey both failed to make it out of the second inning in their Friday and Saturday starts against the Phillies, so yesterday afternoon the Twins desperately needed a long outing and got it from either a likely or unlikely source depending on your point of view.
Carl Pavano tossed a 105-pitch complete game in Philadelphia, out-dueling Roy Halladay by allowing just one run on four hits and no walks. Pavano stepping up in a key spot to give the bullpen a much-needed break probably sounds absurd to the New Yorkers who watched him earn $40 million to make 26 starts for the Yankees, but Minnesotans have gotten to know a much different Pavano after the Twins acquired him in the middle of last season.
Pavano has gone 13-10 with a 4.08 ERA in 26 starts for the Twins, including 8-6 with a 3.64 ERA in 14 outings this year, and hasn’t missed a turn in the rotation since 2008. And not only has he been healthy and effective after four miserable years in New York, he’s proving to be a workhorse by going at least seven innings in 10 of his last 11 starts.
Since he debuted for the Twins on August 8 of last season, Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, CC Sabathia, and Zack Greinke are the only AL pitchers with more innings than Pavano at 170. And none of them can boast the same kind of dominant facial hair that Pavano has been sporting lately.

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.

Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.

Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.

The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.

Report: The new collective bargaining agreement reduces players’ meal money

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.

Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.

Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.

EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.