Dice-K rehabs, may start for the big club next week

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The Red Sox are still in a fight with the Rangers for the final playoff spot, so they can’t refuse help from any quarter.  Could Daisuke Matsuzaka provide any?

Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched 6 2/3 successful innings Wednesday night
against White Sox minor leaguers in the Single-A playoffs, and his next
outing will likely be come in a major league uniform.
Pitching with the Red Sox’ Single-A Salem affiliate, Matsuzaka blew
away the young hitters of Single-A Winston-Salem, gallowing only three
hits, one walk, and one run, while notching seven strikeouts.

I know the minors only live to supply the majors with players, but it does seem rather unsporting of everyone involved to send out a guy like Dice-K in a freaking playoff game. It’s like Adam Sandler playing dodgeball against those kids in one of those movies he made back before he became intolerable.  Most of the guys on the Winston-Salem team will never sniff upper level ball, so you should at least give them a chance to win something on their own merits, shouldn’t you?  Ah, screw it. I guess I’m just being sentimental.

Anyway, with Wakefield’s back still acting up, the Sox will need a starter next week.  From the looks of things, Dice-K will be their huckleberry.

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.