Last night we learned that the Orioles were awarded the claim on Twins left fielder Josh Willingham, giving them until Friday to work out a potential deal, and now they’ve claimed another right-handed bat.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Orioles were awarded the claim on Mariners left fielder Michael Morse, who’s similar to Willingham in that he’s terrible defensively and has good power. One key difference is that Morse is an impending free agent, whereas Willingham is signed for $7 million next season. And generally speaking Morse hasn’t been as good as Willingham, although they’ve both struggled with production and injuries this year.
Obviously the Orioles would like to add another bat for the stretch run and it’s a smart approach to claim multiple, similar hitters to give themselves some options if the demands for one prove too costly. Seattle could always pull back Morse and keep him, like they did with Kendrys Morales, although getting anything they can in return for him would seemingly be the easy call.
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.
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.