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Pirates’ Nik Turley suspended 80 games for failed drug test

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Pirates left-hander Nik Turley has been suspended for 80 games without pay after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance called Ipamorelin, the league announced Saturday. Turley will begin his suspension at the start of the 2018 season.

The 28-year-old lefty is coming off of his first season in the majors, one in which he never quite managed to find his footing. He debuted with the Twins in the summer of 2017 and bounced back and forth between the majors and Triple-A, eventually finishing the year with an unsightly 11.21 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.6 SO/9 in 17 2/3 innings.

Last November, Turley was claimed off waivers by the Pirates, who were presumably hoping to see more of the 2.05 ERA he flashed in Double- and Triple-A than the double-digit numbers he posted in the big leagues. He was expected to give the club some added left-handed depth in the bullpen behind swingman Steven Brault, but will now have to sit out the first 11 weeks of the season before earning another look in the majors.

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.