Justin Morneau back in the Twins’ starting lineup this afternoon

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According to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Justin Morneau is back in the starting lineup for this afternoon’s game against the Indians. He’ll play first base and bat cleanup against right-hander Fausto Carmona.

Morneau has been sidelined since last Saturday due to a stiff neck and a case of the flu. He recently received a cortisone injection to relieve inflammation in the neck. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said yesterday that Morneau could be available to pinch-hit today, so his condition has obviously improved greatly over the past 24 hours.

Morneau is batting .208/.250/.302 with zero homers, five doubles and three RBI over his first 56 plate appearances this season.

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.