Bill Mueller is getting at least one Hall of Fame vote

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I kinda liked Bill Mueller as a player. Got on base at a nice clip. Won a batting title. Was part of the 2004 Red Sox World Series team and hit well in the series itself. Maybe the numbers say differently but I want to remember him as playing a good third base. To the extent anyone ever thought to interview him, he seemed like a nice thoughtful chap.

And now, courtesy of Pedro Gomez of ESPN, he’s getting at least one Hall of Fame vote.

Gomez has taken a bunch of flak in the past day or two since that article went up.  To his credit he’s defended his vote on Twitter, calling it a “favored son vote,” and saying he gave it to Mueller to honor “what he represented.”

To his credit, but let’s not pretend that the defense has any merit. While I don’t think such token votes are a crime against nature — at least as long as no worthy candidate is being left off a ballot, which in Gomez’ case no one is — but that kind of thing bugs the living hell out of me.  We’re lectured by the voters constantly about how unpleasant a job it is filling out a Hall of Fame ballot and being told that we simply can’t understand how hard it is to make such decisions, and then someone uses their ballot as if it were for the homecoming king competition.

UPDATE:  I’m reminded that Gomez is also the guy who, three years ago, gave Jay Bell a courtesy vote. Oy.

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.