Jim Thome reiterates plans to play in 2011 at age 40

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Free agent Jim Thome has successfully avoided media attention since finishing an amazing season that saw him hit .283 with a 1.039 OPS while stepping in for an injured Justin Morneau, but yesterday his agent told Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the future Hall of Famer “has no intention of retiring” at age 40.

Pat Rooney revealed to Christensen that “we’ve talked to the Twins and there are other teams in the mix” while hinting that Thome may prefer a two-year contract after playing 2010 on a one-year, $1.5 million deal.

Rooney talked about how Thome “had a special experience in Minnesota” and “loves the manager” but promised only that “he’d definitely consider going back” to the Twins. General manager Bill Smith has made it very clear that the Twins want to re-sign Thome, but it’s becoming obvious that he won’t be available at the same type of discount rate as last offseason.

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.