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Wandy Rodriguez scratched from Saturday start with discomfort in elbow

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According to Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle, the Astros have scratched Wandy Rodriguez from Saturday’s scheduled start against the Diamondbacks due to discomfort in his left elbow. Bud Norris will move up a day to make the start in his place.

Rodriguez complained of some soreness following Sunday’s outing against the Blue Jays and felt continued discomfort during a bullpen session today. Astros general manager Ed Wade said that the 32-year-old southpaw is scheduled for an MRI exam tomorrow.

“Until we get the MRI, we won’t know if we’re looking at him just missing (Saturday) and getting pushed back,” Wade said. “Somebody is going to have to start on Tuesday. Once we get the MRI, we’ll get a better sense and feel of whether he’s going to be in position to throw a bullpen on Sunday and get ready for Tuesday.”

Rodriguez is 3-3 with a 3.41 ERA and 53/16 K/BB ratio over his first 10 starts this season. He has made at least 30 starts in four out of the last five seasons.

One would think that an extended absence could lead to top prospect right-hander Jordan Lyles being called up from the minor leagues. Lyles, 20, has a 3.20 ERA over his first 10 starts with Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, averaging 6.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. He has a 2.81 ERA over his last five starts.

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.