Pat Burrell rejoins Giants lineup, but not as cleanup hitter

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Here are the lineups for Game 5 of the World Series:

   GIANTS                         RANGERS
1. Andres Torres, RF           1. Elvis Andrus, SS
2. Freddy Sanchez, 2B          2. Michael Young, 3B
3. Buster Posey, C             3. Josh Hamilton, CF
4. Cody Ross, LF               4. Vladimir Guerrero, DH
5. Juan Uribe, 3B              5. Nelson Cruz, RF
6. Aubrey Huff, 1B             6. Ian Kinsler, 2B
7. Pat Burrell, DH             7. David Murphy, LF
8. Edgar Renteria, SS          8. Bengie Molina, C
9. Aaron Rowand, CF            9. Mitch Moreland, 1B

While the Rangers are going with their now-standard playoff lineup versus right-handed pitching, the Giants have made several changes.

Pat Burrell rejoins the lineup after sitting out Game 4, but does so while in the No. 7 spot after previously hitting fourth or fifth throughout the postseason. Burrell is just 6-for-38 (.158) with 19 strikeouts in the playoffs, but manager Bruce Bochy still wants his right-handed bat in there versus left-hander Cliff Lee.

Burrell serving as the designated hitter opens up an outfield spot for another right-handed hitter, Aaron Rowand, to make his first start since Game 4 of the NLCS. That moves Andres Torres to right field and gives the Giants a very strong defensive outfield to support Tim Lincecum. Oh, and Cody Ross is now the cleanup hitter for a team one victory from winning the World Series, which is easily the craziest sentence I’ve typed all season.

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)
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.