* Pedro Martinez’s first minor-league rehab start was cut short because of rain
yesterday at Single-A, so he ended up throwing only 24 pitches before
heading to the bullpen for another 60 throws. Zach Schonbrun of MLB.com
reports that Martinez “will likely throw two more starts in the minor
leagues before being ready to join” the Phillies.
* Junichi Tazawa, the 23-year-old right-hander who skipped the
professional ranks in Japan to sign with the Red Sox this offseason,
has been promoted to Triple-A after going 9-5 with a 2.57 ERA and 88/26 K/BB ratio in 98 innings at Double-A.
* Andrew Miller’s demotion to the minors got off to a rough start over the weekend, as he walked nine batters while failing to make it out of the fifth inning in his first outing at Triple-A.
* There was speculation that a trade could be brewing when Reid Brignac
was pulled from a Triple-A game over the weekend, but the Rays announced that he merely “tweaked his leg a bit.”
* Thomas Harding of MLB.com shares the story of Jhoulys Chacin learning that he was headed to the big leagues.
* Cross the Giants off the list of teams in the mix for Roy Halladay.
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.
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.