Mike Lowell is 'frustrated' by lack of playing time

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Now that David Ortiz is hitting again–going 16-for-46 (.348) with six homers in 12 games so far this month–Mike Lowell is back to being primarily a bench player for the Red Sox and told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he’s not happy about it.

I don’t come in for defense. I’m always pinch-run for. Your level of importance feels diminished when I feel like I can do so much more. I just don’t know if the place where I can do so much more is here. The good news is that I can’t control that, but the bad thing is not being able to control the frustration.



The fact we’re not playing well adds to the frustration. If we had the best record in the big leagues, it makes things a little better because there’s a good vibe about the way we’re playing. There are good things. We’re not playing that well. It’s not just one thing. I think if my hip was bothering me all the time I think I would be frustrated, but there would be justification in me not playing.



The situation that is frustrating to me is that I think everybody wanted to see if I was healthier than last year, and I’ve got to believe that’s pretty apparent, and I don’t think my numbers merit not doing anything. The fact I feel good and I have instances where I have had good games and you can’t follow it up and you can’t get hot for two or three weeks, it can only add to your frustration.

This offseason Lowell was on the verge of being traded to Texas, where he’d have been an everyday player, but thumb surgery nixed that move and now the Rangers don’t have any room for him. Lowell would help plenty of other teams in a much bigger role than he has in Boston, but unless they can get significant value for him or save significant money by unloading him it makes sense for the Red Sox to keep Lowell around as an insurance policy at third base, first base, and designated hitter.

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.