Red Sox to (finally) call up Clay Buchholz

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The Clay Buchholz era is about to begin in Boston. Well, begin again anyway. I think it’s the third era for him:

In order to give their starters extra rest during the All-Star
break, the Red Sox will promote heralded prospect Clay Buchholz from
Triple-A Pawtucket to start Friday’s series opener in Toronto.

The 24-year-old right-hander is having a breakout season with the
PawSox, going 7-2 with a 2.36 ERA in 16 appearances. In 99 innings this
seaon, opponents were hitting just .188 against Buchholz, who has
registered 89 strikeouts, 30 walks and tossed one complete game.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona did not announce a corresponding
roster move on Sunday, but one will be made before Buchholz takes the
hill against the Blue Jays.

Probably a bunch of moves unless they plan on bringing up Buchholz for
a single start and sending him back down again. This is especially true
given that Jed Lowrie and Mike Lowell are about to be activated again
as well. Could the long-rumored Penny trade be afoot? Could they be
dealing Saito and moving Smoltz to the bullpen, which is probably where
he needs to be anyway?

No idea. But since there’s no baseball of consequence until Thursday, we have a lot of time to sit and wonder about it.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.