Mike Pelfrey ahead of schedule in return from Tommy John surgery

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Mike Pelfrey is just 10 months removed from undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery, but he’s throwing without limitations at Twins camp and told Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com that he expects to be ready for Opening Day:

I’m going to be ready. I guess it’s hard for some people to believe maybe. But I feel great.

Pelfrey has apparently gotten Dr. James Andrews’ blessing to speed up the typical recovery timetable, although obviously he still has some hurdles to clear between now and April.

Pelfrey went under the knife in May of last year, ending a streak of four consecutive seasons in which he started at least 30 games and threw at least 180 innings for the Mets. He signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Twins, who desperately need rotation help after ranking dead last among AL teams in starter ERA.

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.