Andy Pettitte gives up five runs in Triple-A start

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Making his first Triple-A start since beginning his comeback, Andy Pettitte gave up five runs — three earned — and eight hits in five innings Sunday against the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Pettitte wasn’t helped by his defense in the game. First baseman Steve Pearce dropped a foul popup on the very first play of the game, and Pedro Ciriaco went on to hit a double in the at-bat, starting a two-run inning that Pettitte only got out of by picking off Lars Anderson at first base. There was another error in the second.

The 39-year-old Pettitte did end the outing by retiring the final five hitters he faced. He threw 59 of his 92 pitches for strikes.

Pettitte has now made four minor league starts and given up 10 runs — seven earned — in 17 innings overall. He’s struck out 13 and walked three. His pitch count is built up to the point that he’s now a viable option for the Yankee rotation. However, given his mediocre showing today, it’d probably make sense to give him one more Triple-A start.

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.