Josh Willingham claimed on waivers by the Orioles

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Via Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

Josh Willingham was claimed off trade waivers by at least one other team, a major-league source told the Star Tribune on Wednesday, giving the Twins until noon Friday to work out a trade or pull him back.

The source did not reveal which team has been awarded the waiver claim, but only one team has the right to negotiate a trade for the 34-year-old slugger.

The Twins can either work out a deal with that team, let Willingham go for free to that team or pull him back and keep him for the rest of the 2013 season.

Willingham has hit just .214/.346/.390 in 89 games this summer and is still owed over $8 million through the 2014 season. But he tallied 35 home runs and 110 RBI in 2012 while playing half his games at one of the more pitcher-friendly parks in the major leagues. The 34-year-old could be of help to a contender.

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UPDATE, 11:59 PM ET: Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles are the team that claimed Willingham off waivers and are currently trying to work out a trade with the Twins.

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.