Twins place Carl Pavano on DL, activate Nick Blackburn

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Carl Pavano underwent an MRI exam a month ago after complaining of shoulder soreness and was diagnosed with a strain.

He pitched through it with diminished velocity and horrible results, allowing 24 runs in 24 innings with a .370 opponents’ batting average in his last five starts, and today the Twins finally shut him down.

Pavano has been placed on the disabled list with an anterior capsular strain and the Twins activated Nick Blackburn from the DL to take his spot in the rotation beginning Wednesday versus the Royals.

Blackburn, who in the past also had terrible results when trying to pitch through arm problems, has been out since May 16 with a quadriceps injury. Blackburn was hardly impressive during a brief minor-league rehab assignment and has a 5.31 ERA in 343 innings dating back to 2010, but it’ll be tough to perform any worse than Pavano.

Report: Padres interested in Maikel Franco

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals
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The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.

Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.

Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.