Hunter Pence, Alex Rios and Kendrys Morales among Rangers’ trade deadline targets

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Via Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

The Rangers, facing the possibility that right-fielder Nelson Cruz could be suspended and without much production from their other outfielders, have set their sights on Chicago White Sox outfielder Alex Rios, San Francisco right fielder Hunter Pence and Seattle designated hitter Kendrys Morales to fill a need for a right-handed hitter, according to baseball sources.

The Pale Hose (39-58) are sure to be sellers at this year’s July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. There’s a little less certainty at this point about the Giants (46-54) and the suddenly-surging Mariners (48-53).

Cruz, as Wilson notes, is connected to the Biogenesis case and could be handed a big suspension soon.

The Rangers beefed up their starting rotation on Monday with Matt Garza. Now it’s time to find a hitter who can attempt to replace Cruz’s production or provide a boost in left and center field if Cruz is around all year.

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.