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Report: Padres favorites to sign Kazuhisa Makita

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The Padres are looking like strong favorites to sign right-hander Kazuhisa Makita, according to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan. Makita is already en route to San Diego for a physical and has until 5 PM ET on January 10 to finalize a contract with the club.

Makita, 33, completed his seventh straight campaign with the Saitama Seibu Lions of Japan Pacific League in 2017. The submariner produced his worst numbers since he transitioned to a swingman role in 2016, though that isn’t saying much — he finished the 2017 season with a remarkable 2.30 ERA, 0.7 BB/9 and 5.0 SO/9 in 62 2/3 innings. While he’s not a strikeout wizard by any stretch of the imagination, he proved himself more than capable of handling MLB batters back in 2014, combining with Takahiro Norimoto, Yuki Nishi and Yuji Nishino to no-hit a lineup of MLB All-Stars during the Japan Series.

A report from Yahoo Japan suggests that the Padres aren’t the only team in the mix for Makita’s services, listing the Rangers as another possible landing spot for the veteran righty. No other bids have been publicized yet, however, and it seems like a foregone conclusion that Makita will end up in San Diego by the January 10 deadline.

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.