Jeff Suppan close to rejoining Brewers' rotation

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When the Brewers placed Jeff Suppan on the disabled list last week there was some speculation that the move was made in part to delay a decision on whether or not to add the 35-year-old right-hander to the rotation.
However, today’s news that he’s slated to come off the shelf following just one minor-league rehab outing suggests otherwise. Suppan is scheduled to start Friday at Single-A, and if all goes well with his neck injury could be activated for a start as soon as next Wednesday against the Cubs.
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Suppan will rejoin the rotation while both Manny Parra and Chris Narveson remain in the bullpen, with the 36-year-old’s $12.5 million salary no doubt playing a factor even if the Brewers don’t want to admit it.
“We could have a number of No. 5 starters over the course of the year,” manager Ken Macha said. “Right now, we’re going in this direction. Production will be a big part of it. You could make a case for all three guys.”
Suppan went 7-12 with a 5.29 ERA in 30 starts last season, giving up 200 hits and 74 walks in 161.2 innings for the second-most baserunners per nine innings of any pitcher with 25 or more starts. Of course, the only guy to allow more baserunners per nine innings was Parra, so it’s a lesser-of-two-evils situation for Macha and the Brewers.

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.