Red Sox GM says landing free agent pitcher is “unlikely”

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The Red Sox have been linked recently to free agent pitchers Edwin Jackson and Roy Oswalt. But E-Jax apparently has better deals on the table from other clubs and Oswalt is thought to prefer a team in the middle of the country, like the Cards or Rangers.

Which leads us to the following report…

According to WEEI’s Alex Speier, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said Wednesday night that it’s “unlikely” a new pitcher joins the team’s rotation mix before the start of spring training later this month.

“We wouldn’t rule out adding a starter, but I think it’s unlikely at this point,” said the Red Sox general manager. “We’re going to keep looking for ways to improve the team, including the pitching staff, (but) I wouldn’t expect any major changes. … We think the lineup is pretty balanced and I think we have some options in the bullpen and that can be a strength. We like the front of the rotation. We’re going to find out more about the end of the rotation in spring training and see if guys step up.”

Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz are locks for Boston’s 2012 starting rotation. Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard, Andrew Miller, Vicente Padilla and Aaron Cook will compete for the other spots.

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.