Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper limited in SAL All-Star Game due to sore left thumb

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Bryce Harper is still expected to start in tonight’s South Atlantic League All-Star Game, but the fans at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, Maryland aren’t going to get the show they were hoping for.

Harper is currently nursing a sore left thumb that he jammed back on June 12. He missed four games with the injury, including two prior to the All-Star break and was scratched from tonight’s Home Run Derby.

Hagerstown Suns manager Brian Daubach, who is also managing the North team in tonight’s game, told Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post that Harper will only be limited to a few innings and possibly one at-bat.

Meanwhile, Harper says he should be good to go for the second half of the season, which at this rate will likely include a promotion to Double-A Harrisburg.

“The thumb’s feeling good,” Harper said. “I tried to take those two days off, and I got them, and now there’s time to rest it a little bit and be ready to go.”

Harper has made a mockery of the Sally League thus far, batting .330/.429/.586 with 14 homers, 13 stolen bases and a 1.014 OPS in his first pro 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.