Braves exercise options on Brian McCann, Tim Hudson, Paul Maholm

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Atlanta has exercised its options on catcher Brian McCann, right-hander Tim Hudson, and left-hander Paul Maholm, bringing all three players back for 2013 at a combined cost of $27.5 million.

McCann faded badly in the second half and was benched in the Wild Card playoff game, but it would have been tough for the Braves to justify cutting loose a 28-year-old six-time All-Star over $12 million.

Hudson at $9 million and Maholm at $6.5 million were no-brainers, and the Braves acquired Maholm from the Cubs with the idea that he’d be around for more than just a few months.

Hudson is 37 years old, but has thrown 665 innings with a 3.22 ERA since returning from Tommy John elbow surgery in mid-2009, including a 3.62 ERA in 179 innings this year. Maholm posted a 3.54 ERA in 11 starts for the Braves after coming over in a July 30 deal for Jaye Chapman and Arodys Vizcaino.

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.