Angels sign first-round pick Kaleb Cowart for $2.3 million

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There are going to be an absurd number of draft pick signings to announce today because midnight is the deadline for deals to be reached before teams cease controlling a player’s rights.
This morning there were 17 unsigned first-round picks, but that number if now 16 with the Angels convincing Georgia high school infielder and No. 18 pick Kaleb Cowart to pass up a scholarship to Florida State for a $2.3 million bonus.
Jim Callis of Baseball America lists Diamondbacks first rounder Barret Loux and Dodgers first rounder Zach Lee as the least likely first-round picks to sign before midnight. Loux because he failed a physical exam in July and Lee because it’s been assumed all along that he plans to play college football at LSU.
For the most part, though, expect the vast majority of high-round picks–including Bryce Harper–to come to terms at some point tonight.

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.