Derek Holland diagnosed with strained shoulder

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Derek Holland’s fastball is typically 92-93 miles per hour, but he was throwing just 86-88 mph in the first inning of Sunday night’s start against the Twins. His velocity eventually rose to 90-91 mph, but after several mound visits from the manager, pitching coach, and trainer the Rangers pulled the 23-year-old southpaw from the game in the second inning.
Holland met with doctors yesterday and has been diagnosed with “mild left rotator cuff inflammation” in his shoulder, with Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reporting that he’ll be placed on the disabled list today. According to Grant he’ll be shut down for at least 3-5 days before hopefully resuming a throwing program, but there’s no timetable for his return to the rotation.
Holland is among the most promising young left-handers in baseball and went 2-0 with a 2.60 ERA and 15/3 K/BB ratio in his first three starts after being called up from Triple-A last month. He was used as a reliever last Wednesday and was “off” from the first pitch against Minnesota. Tommy Hunter has been rehabbing an oblique injury of his own at Triple-A and is the favorite to replace Holland in the rotation.

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.