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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.

Cardinals place Carlos Martinez on 10-day disabled list with oblique strain

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The Cardinals have placed right-hander Carlos Martinez on the 10-day disabled list with a right oblique strain, per a team announcement on Saturday. The move is retroactive to July 20. No definite timetable has been set for his return to the rotation yet, but interim manager Mike Shildt told reporters he feels confident that Martinez will only need to skip one start before taking the mound again.

Martinez, 26, sustained the injury while trying to snare a line drive during Thursday’s 9-6 loss to the Cubs. It hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for the righty this season, as he lost nearly four weeks to a right lat strain and pitched to a 5.32 ERA after returning to the Cardinals’ roster in early June. Overall, however, his numbers look a little stronger: He’s 6-6 in 17 starts with a 3.39 ERA, 4.5 BB/9 and 8.4 SO/9 through 95 2/3 innings.

In a corresponding move, right-handed reliever John Brebbia has been recalled from Triple-A Memphis. The 28-year-old Brebbia has already enjoyed three short-lived stints in the majors this season; he currently holds a cumulative 4.13 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 9.9 SO/9 and two saves in 32 2/3 innings with the club.