Shoulder surgery puts Flores' status for 2010 in question

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Jesus Flores got off to a great start this season, as the 24-year-old catcher was handed the starting job in Washington and hit .301/.371/.505 through 106 plate appearances while nearly matching his walk total from all of 2008.
Everything changed when he took a foul ball off his right shoulder on May 9. Initially diagnosed as a bruise, Flores was later found to have a stress fracture in the shoulder and ended up missing four months of action.
He finally rejoined the Nationals last week, serving strictly as a pinch-hitter to protect his shoulder, but began complaining of pain in the area anyway and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum today.
Labrum injuries are basically the worst-case scenario for pitchers, so naturally they aren’t great for catchers either. Flores is expected to be sidelined for 3-6 months, putting his status for next season in some doubt. “He should be ready for the middle of spring training, worst-case scenario,” general manager Mike Rizzo said, adding that the Nationals are unlikely to pursue another starting-caliber catcher this offseason.
Flores’ injury is just another tough break for the Nationals, who had already lost fellow long-term building block Jordan Zimmermann for 2010 thanks to Tommy John elbow surgery. Obviously they weren’t going to compete for a playoff spot next season anyway, but the Nationals need guys like Flores and Zimmermann to develop into impact players and the injuries diminish those odds significantly.

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.