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Giants will exercise Matt Moore’s option for 2018

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Giants’ GM Bobby Evans confirmed that the club has plans to pick up Matt Moore‘s $9 option for 2018, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. It hasn’t been Moore’s finest season — a league-high 5.39 ERA will testify to that, among other markers — but Shaikin points out that the Giants aren’t positioning themselves for a rebuild anytime soon. They still plan to compete with the same veteran core in 2018, and as long as Moore can handle the 150+ inning workload without breaking down, he has a place on the pitching staff for the foreseeable future.

Moore, 28, appeared to have some difficulty transitioning to his first full season in the National League. His 14 losses and 100 earned runs are career-worst marks, and while his 5.39 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 and 7.7 SO/9 aren’t personal lows, they don’t inspire a lot of confidence, either. (Granted, none of the Giants’ starters carry a sub-4.00 ERA except for Madison Bumgarner, who only started seeing regular starts in the second half after missing significant time with a shoulder injury.)

Even taking Moore’s recent struggles into account, it’s not all bad news for the Giants going forward. Without the onus to rebuild, they’re not about to start jettisoning pitching depth, especially when other relatively young, relatively healthy, relatively productive arms on the market come at a much steeper price. If Moore tanks in 2018, the club has a $1 million buyout on his contract, and if he surges back to 2013-like peaks, it’ll only cost $10 million to retain him for another season.

Shohei Ohtani medically cleared to begin throwing progression

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The Angels released a medical update on P/DH Shohei Ohtani Thursday evening. Ohtani was reevaluated by Dr. Steve Yoon at the Kerlan Jobe Institute. The right-hander’s sprained UCL showed improved healing and, as a result, he has been cleared to begin a throwing progression.

Ohtani, 24, was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow after his June 6 start against the Royals and hasn’t pitched since, though he has been in the lineup as a hitter since July 3. It was initially believed he would undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. Then the thought was that Ohtani wouldn’t pitch again for the rest of the season, but this update suggests a possibility he could return to the mound before the season is over.

In nine starts, Ohtani put together a 3.10 ERA with a 61/20 K/BB ratio in 49 1/3 innings. As a hitter, he batted .283/.365/.522 with seven home runs and 22 RBI in 157 plate appearances.