Takashi Saito's poor night vision hurt the Braves yesterday

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Mark Bowman of MLB.com explains how Takashi Saito’s bad vision cost the Braves in last night’s loss to the Rockies:

Turns out, the passed ball that gave Dexter Fowler a chance to deliver a two-run single was directly attributed to the vision problem that Takashi Saito experiences during night games. Because of Saito’s limited vision at night, the Braves catchers are unable to call pitches by simply placing a certain number of fingers between their legs.

They are instead forced to signal pitch selection by touching different parts of their body, much like a third-base coach. After McCann signaled for a breaking ball, Saito delivered the fastball that drilled plate umpire Lance Barksdale in the right shoulder and then made its way toward the backstop.

Interesting, but it’s also worth noting that on a per-inning basis Saito has thrown fewer wild pitches in night games (passed balls are attributed to catchers) and has also been every bit as effective as he is during day games.

Saito has appeared in 208 career night games, posting a 2.15 ERA and 262 strikeouts versus just 151 hits in 213 innings. Not bad for a guy who can barely see which pitches are being called.

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.