Report: Johnny Damon clears waivers, eligible to be traded

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Literally hundreds of players will be placed on waivers this month and a high percentage of them will go unclaimed, making them eligible to be traded.

According to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com Johnny Damon is one of those players, as Tampa Bay successfully passed the left fielder/designated hitter through waivers unclaimed.

Stark notes that the Rays didn’t draw much interest in Damon before the July 31 deadline, but he might become a little more attractive to teams as the pool of available players shrinks.

Of course, his production is also shrinking, as Damon has hit just .262 with nine homers in 108 games for a .704 OPS that ranks as his worst since 2001. At age 37 he certainly fits the “veteran bat” mold that some teams seek, but Damon is 21-for-102 (.206) with zero homers in 25 games since the All-Star break.

At this point the Rays would probably be thrilled to get a mid-level prospect for him.

Clayton Kershaw could return on September 1

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Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been out since July 24 with a lower back strain. He’s slated to throw a three-inning simulated game in Pittsburgh on Monday, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Plunkett adds that if all goes well, the earliest Kershaw could return is August 31 against the Diamondbacks, but September 1 is more likely against the Padres.

Kershaw, 29, hit the disabled list on a pace to win his fourth Cy Young Award. He’s 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.

The Dodgers have managed just fine without Kershaw. The club is 19-4 since July 24. At 87-35, the Dodgers own baseball’s best record, well ahead of the second-best Astros at 76-48.

Ian Kinsler was fined for ripping umpires publicly. Brad Ausmus says it’s the largest fine he’s seen in 25 years.

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Last week, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected from a game against the Rangers after giving home plate umpire Angel Hernandez a look after a pitch was thrown outside for a ball. Kinsler was apparently unhappy with calls Hernandez had made earlier. Manager Brad Ausmus, too, was ejected.

After the game, Kinsler said that Hernandez “needs to find another job.” He added, “…he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”

Kinsler was fined by Major League Baseball for his remarks, Mlive’s Evan Woodbery reports. According to Ausmus, the fine levied on Kinsler was the largest one he’s seen in nearly 25 years in baseball. Kinsler said, “I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, then that’s their problem.” Ausmus said, “To single out one player as a union is completely uncalled for.”

As Ashley noted on Saturday, the umpires wore white wristbands to protest “escalating attacks on umpires.” The umpires agreed to drop their protest on Sunday after commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with the umpire union’s governing board, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports.