John McDonald; Justin Morneau

Justin Morneau: “Nothing really new to report” on comeback from concussion

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Justin Morneau sat out the final three months of the regular season after suffering a concussion on July 7. He started working out and taking batting practice in September, leading to some optimism that he could come back for the playoffs, but those hopes were quickly dashed when the post-concussion symptoms returned and he was shut down again.

General manager Bill Smith said earlier this week that Morneau was feeling better but hadn’t resumed working out yet, and today the former MVP gave Kelly Thesier of MLB.com a first-hand update on his status:

For the people that want to know how I’m doing, there is nothing really new to report. I’m feeling a lot better but I haven’t really done much so it’s still hard to tell. There’s no reason to start working out yet. Normally I would start my workouts between Nov. 1 and 15th so I’m not behind schedule at all. I expect to be ready and 100 percent well before spring training.

Until he can work out for multiple days in a row without any of the symptoms returning Morneau will remain a huge question mark for 2011 and beyond, and unfortunately so far he hasn’t been able to do that yet four months after the concussion.

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.