zimmerman nats

Nationals clear Ryan Zimmerman to resume baseball activites

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The Nationals shut third baseman Ryan Zimmerman down last week due to a minor groin injury.

According to Bill Ladson of MLB.com, they’re ready to get him active again.

Zimmerman participated in routine baseball activities on Sunday in Nats camp and reported no lingering pain or discomfort. He will probably do a similar workout Monday and Tuesday before possibly returning to Grapefruit League action after the club’s designated Wednesday off-day.

Nationals skipper Jim Riggleman spoke Sunday afternoon with Ladson and MLB.com about when he might be able to get Zimmerman back in the daily lineup. To put it plainly, the veteran manager didn’t have a whole lot of answers:

“I’m just going to listen to the trainers on that one. They will tell me when to use him.”

Zimmerman drew some MVP votes last year after posting an .899 OPS and 25 home runs across 525 at-bats. He’ll be grouped with Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche in the heart of the D.C. batting order this 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)
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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.