Report: Orioles have had “very preliminary” talks with Phillies about A.J. Burnett

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Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the Orioles have had “very preliminary” talks with the Phillies regarding a deal for right-hander A.J. Burnett. No deal appears to be imminent, but Morosi notes there has been some “initial dialogue” about a possible trade.

The Orioles make some sense as a potential destination, as they could use another arm for their starting rotation. They were also among the teams interested in Burnett before he signed with the Phillies in February.

Burnett gave up six runs over five innings against the Braves last night and owns a 4.08 ERA and 113/58 K/BB ratio 136 2/3 innings across 21 starts this season. He’s making $15 million this season (including a $7.5 million signing bonus) while his contract includes a mutual/player option for 2015 which guarantees him at least $7.5 million. He has a limited no-trade clause which allows him to block deals to nine teams, but considering that he owns a home in Maryland, he would likely welcome a trade to Baltimore.

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.