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.

Clayton Kershaw might return to the Dodgers’ rotation next week

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Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.

Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.

Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.