Angels leaning toward putting Hisanori Takahashi in rotation

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No decision needs to be made until next week, but Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels are leaning toward Hisanori Takahashi as the rotation replacement for demoted starter Joel Pineiro.

Takahashi was a veteran starter in Japan prior to coming to MLB at age 35 last season, but he had a 5.01 ERA in 12 starts for the Mets. He’s had more success in the bullpen for the Mets and Angels, throwing 106 innings with a 2.64 ERA and 100/41 K/BB ratio.

Counting on him as a starter down the stretch is an iffy proposition and throwing Takahashi right into the fire with a Wednesday start against the Yankees is especially iffy, but DiGiovanna writes that the Angels aren’t very confident in any of their potential Pineiro replacements in the minors.

Asked if he’d be ready to make the start, Takahashi replied: “I could throw 100 pitches. I don’t know what would happen a couple of days after that, but I could throw 100 pitches.”

The Twins didn’t listen to CC Sabathia’s wishes concerning bunting

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Earlier this month, Yankees starter CC Sabathia jawed at the Red Sox after Eduardo Nunez laid down a bunt. Sabathia fielded it fine, but threw the ball away for an error. After the game, he called Nunez’s bunt “weak” and said the Red Sox should “swing the bat.” Sabathia, of course, is not that limber these days. Along with being 37 years old, the lefty has also battled knee and hamstring issues this season.

The Twins apparently didn’t hear what Sabathia had to say about bunting. After Brian Dozier singled off of Sabathia to lead off the top of the first inning on Tuesday, Joe Mauer laid down a bunt on the third base side and reached safely. Jorge Polanco then laid down a bunt of his own, also on the third base side, and was initially ruled out, but after replay review was ruled safe to load the bases with no outs.

Fortunately for Sabathia, he was able to limit the damage, getting Eduardo Escobar to ground into a run-scoring 6-4-3 double play and inducing an inning-ending ground out from Byron Buxton. It’ll be interesting, though, to see if the Twins continue to bunt against Sabathia throughout the night.

Jake Arrieta to return to Cubs’ rotation on Thursday

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Cubs starter Jake Arrieta has been out over two weeks with a strained right hamstring, but he’s ready to return to action. The right-hander threw a bullpen on Tuesday and it went well, so he will start in Thursday’s series opener against the Brewers in Milwaukee, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports.

Arrieta, 31, returns with a 14-9 record, a 3.48 ERA, and a 157/53 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. If he stays on schedule, he’ll make three starts through the end of the regular season, including the regular season finale on October 1 against the Reds.

Arrieta is expected to max out at 75-80 pitches on Thursday and will ramp up through the end of the month.