UPDATE: Manny Ramirez not in the lineup for the third straight day

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UPDATE: It’s confirmed. According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Manny Ramirez is out of the starting lineup for the third straight game Saturday. Joe Torre can say what he wants about superstitions and not wanting to mess with chemistry of the ballclub, but we all know better.

11:31 AM: Seriously. I’m hoping the Dodgers told manager Joe Torre to make up some
elaborate excuses over the next few days, because it would be a shame if he really believes this.

After the Dodgers won their second straight game with Manny Ramirez on the bench, Torre told Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com that he hasn’t made up his mind about about including him in the starting lineup Saturday.

“I’m not sure yet,” Torre said. “I told him we would talk about it
tomorrow. I have been a lot more superstitious since I started
managing.”

So, in summary, Scott Podsednik gives the Dodgers a better chance to win than Ramirez. Clearly, the White Sox are going after the wrong guy.

By the way, the Dodgers have won four straight games, improving to 67-62 on the year. They enter play Saturday 4 1/2 games back in the National League Wild Card race.

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.