Scott Podsednik opts out of Dodgers deal and becomes a free agent

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When the Dodgers exercised their half of Scott Podsednik’s mutual option earlier this week the assumption was that the speedy outfielder would soon do the same and accept a $2 million salary for 2011, but today Podsednik declined his half of the option and became a free agent.

Podsednik earned $1.75 million this season and was paid less than $1 million in both 2008 and 2009, so $2 million seemed like a pretty good salary for a 35-year-old left fielder with a .382 slugging percentage.

Of course, it only takes one team focusing on his speed and veteran-ness above his lack of production to make opting out of the Dodgers deal a sound move for Podsednik.

For all his speed Podsednik isn’t a legitimate option defensively in center field and was thrown out on 15 of 50 steal attempts in addition to annually being among the league leaders in times picked off. He gets on base at a decent clip and has good range in left field, but I’m just not sure how many teams are in the market for a .725 OPS left fielder at this point.

He may find another offer in the $2 million range, but sticking with the Dodgers was probably his best shot at everyday playing time.

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.