Wanna see Jared Burton punch Brian Duensing?

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In the top of the second of the first game of today’s day-night doubleheader against the White Sox, Twins outfielder Chris Colabello homered to right field off of Sox starter John Danks to stake his club to an early 1-0 lead. As the ball landed in the Twins bullpen, it appeared as if reliever Jared Burton sucker punched bullpen mate Brian Duensing in the face.

Phil Miller of the Star Tribune helps provide some context:

When Chris Colabello swung at the John Danks’ second-inning pitch in Game 1, Brian Duensing jumped up in the Twins’ bullpen and yelled at Jared Burton, “C’mon — Punch me! Punch me!”

And that’s how the Twins’ bullpen “brawl,” which you are guaranteed to see on sports highlight shows several times this weekend, got started.

Burton and Duensing have been planning the prank for awhile — since last season, actually, when former Twin Matt Maloney came up with the idea. Noting that relief pitchers are often seen in the background when a home run is hit into the bullpen, Maloney suggested they stage a fight for the cameras to pick up.

Now that is a heck of a prank. Kudos to Burton and Duensing.

(tip of the cap to /r/baseball for the .gif)

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.