UPDATE: Not so fast. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Braves manager Bobby Cox said that the team will wait until Sunday to make a decision regarding Billy Wagner’s spot on the NLDS roster.
The Braves are still holding out hope that he will be available should the team advance to the NLCS, so it’s possible they will play short-handed in the meantime. If the Braves determine that Wagner will not be able to return in the near future, Takashi Saito or Jair Jurrjens would likely replace him on the roster.
8:52 AM: According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Billy Wagner will be replaced on the NLDS roster due to a strained left oblique suffered in the 10th inning of last night’s game against the Giants.
“I went to field Renteria’s bunt, and when I tried to get out of
Troy’s way, that’s when I felt a tweak,” Wagner said. “I tried to make a
pitch, just get out there and finish the inning. After I made the
pitch [to Torres] and tried to go toward the plate, I couldn’t move.
“Thank God he bunted it hard enough to get it back to me, or I couldn’t have made a play at all.”
Wagner is expected to be replaced on the roster by either Takashi
Saito or Jair Jurrjens, both of whom are recovering from injuries of their own. O’Brien gives the advantage to Saito, who was left off the original NLDS roster due to an inflamed shoulder.
Now that Wagner will be removed from the roster, he will be ineligible to return should the Braves advance to the NLCS. In other words, the Braves must reach the World Series in order for Wagner to pitch again during the postseason. The veteran left-hander has held pretty firm about his intent to retire after the 2010 season, so it’s very possible that this was the last time we’ll ever see him on the mound. That’s just not right.
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.
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.