Kenshin Kawakami is headed back to Japan

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Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along reports from Japan that Kenshin Kawakami has agreed to a deal with the Chunichi Dragons following a disappointing three-year stretch with the Braves.

Kawakami inked a $23 million contract with Atlanta in 2009 and had a solid rookie season for the Braves, tossing 156 innings with a 3.86 ERA and 105/57 K/BB ratio.

Then he began 2010 by going 1-10 with a 5.15 ERA and the Braves demoted him to the minors, never to be seen again. Kawakami didn’t pitch as terribly as those numbers would suggest, but he totally collapsed last season with an 8.41 ERA at Double-A.

Kakakami is 36 years old now, but he was a star in Japan before joining the Braves, going 112-72 with a 3.22 ERA in nine seasons while winning Rookie of the Year and MVP awards.

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.