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Source: Josh Johnson leaning towards return to Padres

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A signing is not imminent, though the Padres appear to be the favorite.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Free-agent starter Josh Johnson is leaning towards re-signing with the Padres, though a decision does not appear to be imminent, according to a major-league source.

Johnson has been in talks with five or six clubs this winter, as Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported last month, though the identities of those clubs are not yet known. San Diego has shown interest in retaining the right-hander after declining a $4 million option on him in October, and appear to be the frontrunner for his services at this time.

Johnson, who will turn 31 in January, missed the entire 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery but was said to be a positive influence on the Padres' organization during his rehab process. He never threw a single pitch for the club, who signed him to an incentive-laden deal last winter after he posted a 6.20 ERA in sixteen starts with the Blue Jays in 2013.