Angels and Nationals should consider a smaller trade

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Many are trying to set the Nationals up with Peter Bourjos after they lost another starting outfielder to injury in Jayson Werth over the weekend. That’d be nice and all, but the artillery is lacking to pull it off.

Instead, I’m thinking about a smaller deal here, if the two teams have in fact talked: Alberto Callaspo for Jesus Flores.

The Angels could really use a catcher with Chris Iannetta out 6-8 weeks following wrist surgery and Hank Conger sidelined with a sprained elbow. Flores has yet to show the promise he did before shoulder problems cost him all of 2010, but he is solid defensively and he might yet make an impact offensively if he could get regular playing time. For the Angels, he could start in the short-term and then replace Bobby Wilson as Iannetta’s backup later this season. The Nationals probably won’t ever have an expanded role for him if Wilson Ramos remains healthy.

The Nationals, on the other hand, could use another option at second base with Danny Espinosa floundering. Callaspo has played mostly third lately, but he came up as a second baseman and would be a useful stopgap there until Espinosa figures things out. He’d also be valuable insurance in case of another injury to Ryan Zimmerman. The Angels could move Callaspo and still have Maicer Izturis and Mark Trumbo at third base, with prospect Luis Jimenez also capable of stepping in at some point.

So, I think this one would work well for both teams. Who’s with me?

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.