Rangers manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine last year

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Ron Washington.jpgWow:

Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine during the 2009 season, SI.com has learned. Washington, 57, has been subject to increased drug testing since his
failed test, which was administered by Major League Baseball last July,
and he has passed all of his subsequent tests. In deciding to support
Washington and retain him as manager, the Rangers accepted his apology
as heartfelt and also his explanation that this was a one-time
transgression.

I just finished reading a book called The Pittsburgh Cocaine Seven by Aaron Skirboll. It won’t be released for several months, but when it comes out you’ll definitely want to read it.  It details the Pittsburgh cocaine trials of 1985 and the crazy, coke-filled years Major League Baseball experienced leading up to them.

Ron Washington played during the years chronicled in that book. Between the time frame of his heyday and that of the book, my first impression of this news it to be skeptical of the “one-time transgression” language of the team’s statement.  How many people try
coke for the first time at age 57?  Especially those who worked in an environment absolutely lousy with cocaine for so many years of their youth?

That said, I like Ron Washington as much as the next guy, and I’m happy to see that he has passed subsequent testing.  I’m also pleased to see the Rangers give him another shot rather than do the easy thing, which would be to cut him loose. By all accounts he’s been a loyal guy and his players are said to like him. People deserve second chances.    

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)
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.