Finally, some positive news for Carlos Guillen.
David Mayo of the Grand Rapids Press reports that the veteran infielder has been cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment and will get things started Monday with Single-A Lakeland.
Guillen has not played in a major league game since undergoing microfracture knee surgery in September of last season and is likely to need over two weeks of minor league at-bats in order to get his timing right. That puts his projected return somewhere around the All-Star break, maybe a little after.
Guillen, 35, is making $13 million this season in the final chapter of a four-year, $48 million extension that he signed with Detroit in March of 2007. He’s hit just .269/.352/.426 with 27 home runs and 129 RBI since the ink dried on that contract. The Tigers will hope for much better down the stretch this summer.
If Guillen gets going and proves capable of handling everyday innings, he should easily steal starting second base duties from Ryan Raburn, who is batting .199/.239/.329 through 64 games this season.
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.
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.