Are the Cubs shopping Carlos Zambrano or not?

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Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote that “the Cubs are definitely dangling Carlos Zambrano” while Jon Heyman of SI.com dismissed Zambrano rumors as “a time waster” because he has a no-trade clause and plans to remain in Chicago.
So which is it? Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune went to the Cubs’ general manager looking for an answer, but not surprisingly Jim Hendry “declined to discuss” the various (and varying) reports. Here’s all he would say about Zambrano’s status:

He’s got full no-trade rights, which he negotiated into his contract. I fully expect him to come back in 2010 and pitch like the old “Big Z.”

The whole thing is a moot point if Zambrano is unwilling to waive his no-trade clause, which his agent has repeatedly insisted is the case. Of course, if the Cubs truly believed that a trade was impossible then they wouldn’t even listen to calls about Zambrano, yet it seems fairly clear that some level of talks have taken place surrounding the 28-year-old right-hander.

Report: Steven Matz has been pitching through pain, may need elbow surgery

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Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that Mets starter Steven Matz has been pitching through pain for most of the season. He may need surgery to fix a nerve issue in his elbow. Matz was sidelined in spring training with an elbow injury and made his regular season debut on June 10.

Matz, 26, has struggled over 13 starts, posting a 6.08 ERA with a 48/19 K/BB ratio in 66 2/3 innings. Many were scrambling for explanations for his pitching woes and now they have it.

According to Carig, the Mets let Matz skip his bullpen sessions to help him pitch through the pain. Given the Mets’ shoddy history of dealing with injuries, that’s not a good look for the club.

Carig noted on Twitter that Jacob deGrom offers some optimism for Matz’s case. deGrom underwent right elbow surgery to repair ulnar nerve damage last September and bounced back to have a great season this year.

Clayton Kershaw’s simulated game went so well he threw an extra inning

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Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to throw three innings in a simulated game on Monday. That simulated game went so well, he threw an extra inning, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Kershaw will make a minor league rehab start next and could be activated towards the end of next week.

Kershaw, 29, has been on the disabled list since July 24 with a lower back strain. That put the pause button on another outstanding season. He’s carrying a 15-2 record with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.

The 87-35 Dodgers have run away with the NL West, needing some combination of 20 wins and 20 Rockies losses (19 for the third-place Diamondbacks) to officially clinch the division. While the Dodgers are all but mathematically assured of reaching postseason baseball, the club would still like to get Kershaw as ready as possible over the next month-plus.