Jimmy Rollins returns, but Carlos Ruiz replaces him on DL

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Jimmy Rollins’ second month-long disabled list stint of the season is over, with the All-Star shortstop returning after being out since May 21 with the same calf injury that knocked him out for nearly five weeks earlier this year.
In the 12 games he’s been healthy enough to play this season Rollins hit .341 with seven extra-base hits and a 1.096 OPS, but fill-ins Juan Castro and Wilson Valdez combined to hit just .241 with a .260 on-base percentage, .335 slugging percentage, and 34/5 K/BB ratio starting at shortstop in his absence.
Thanks in part to that big dropoff in production the Phillies have gone just 26-29 without Rollins in the lineup, so getting him back and actually keeping him healthy this time will be crucial as they try to keep pace with the Braves and Mets in the NL East.
Unfortunately for the Phillies they won’t be at full strength even with Rollins’ return, because Carlos Ruiz was placed on the disabled list with concussion-like symptoms due to being struck on the head by a broken bat Friday. Among catchers who’ve played at least 50 games this season Ruiz ranks second to only Geovany Soto with a .398 on-base percentage. Brian Schneider will get most of the starts behind the plate while he’s on the shelf.

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.