(SportsNetwork.com) - Felipe Paulino makes his first start in nearly two years on Wednesday when the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins continue their season-opening three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field.
Paulino hasn't pitched in a big league game since May 5, 2012, when he tossed six innings of shutout ball for the Kansas City Royals against the New York Yankees. Shortly after that he was diagnosed with a torn ligament in his elbow that required Tommy John surgery.
"I feel blessed. Everybody knows my last year and a half was recovery," Paulino said. "I'm happy to be back for Opening Day, I'm so excited for this. I want to be the same pitcher (I was) before I got injured. I want to compete in the game."
Paulino gets the nod in the second game in an effort to split up three lefties in Robin Ventura's rotation. The 30-year-old righty made six starts this spring, but only pitched to a 6.75 ERA over 22 2/3 innings.
Minnesota, meanwhile, will counter with a veteran righty of its own in 33- year-old Kevin Correia, who was 9-13 a year ago, but led the Twins with 31 starts and 185 1/3 innings to go along with a 4.18 ERA.
Correia is 2-2 lifetime versus the White Sox with a 3.21 ERA in four starts.
Chicago started its season off with a bang on Monday, as Alejandro De Aza stroked two home runs to help the White Sox get past Minnesota, 5-3.
De Aza's two-run blast in the second inning and solo shot in the sixth made him the first White Sox player to homer twice on Opening Day since Jim Thome in 2008 at Cleveland.
Chris Sale (1-0) recorded eight strikeouts and surrendered three runs on five hits in 7 1/3 innings of work. The left-hander finished fifth in the AL Cy Young Award voting last season. Matt Lindstrom picked up the save after allowing one hit and fanning a batter in a scoreless ninth.
"It's a big deal because of what last year was," Ventura said of the win.
Chicago lost 99 games last season after finishing second in the AL Central in 2012.
Kurt Suzuki went 2-for-4 with three RBI for Minnesota, which dropped its sixth straight road opener. Chris Colabello and Aaron Hicks also supplied two hits apiece.
Ricky Nolasco (0-1) was reached for five runs on 10 hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Minnesota was 11-8 last season versus the White Sox.