Athletics bring back Jack Cust

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cust posing in dugout.jpgSearching for more production from a designated hitter spot that has combined for just two home runs (tied for lowest in the league) and a .291 on-base percentage (tied for third lowest), the Athletics have called up Jack Cust from Triple-A Sacramento, reports Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com. He’ll be in uniform for Saturday’s game against the Angels.

Cust was designated for assignment by the club after batting .216 with 20 strikeouts over 51 at-bats during spring training. The decision seemed a bit short-sighted at the time, especially considering that the team brought him back on a one-year, $2.65 million contract in January.

Money aside, Cust has amassed a .378 on-base percentage with a .462 slugging percentage over the past
three seasons, numbers that Eric Chavez hasn’t come close to matching (.247/.298/.355 with one home run in 93 at-bats this season).

Cust was batting .273/.444/.436 with four homers and 19 RBI with Triple-A Sacramento, putting up a 33/33 K/BB ratio over 110 at-bats.
  

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.