Japanese team buys Bryan LaHair from Cubs for $950,000, signs LaHair to $4.5 million deal

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When the Cubs designated Bryan LaHair for assignment earlier this week it was reportedly because they were working on a deal to send the first baseman to Japan and now we have the details of that agreement.

According to ESPN Chicago he’ll get a two-year, $4.5 million contract to join the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks and the Cubs will get $950,000 in cash to part with LaHair.

LaHair slumped horribly after making the All-Star team as a 29-year-old rookie, but he’s still a .260 hitter with 21 homers and a .764 OPS in 195 total big-league games and has consistently crushed Triple-A pitching for years.

I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t put up huge numbers in Japan and, who knows, maybe in a couple years another MLB team will feel like taking a flier on him as a cheap bench bat or platoon starter.

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.