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John Danks on track to make first rehab start Sunday

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John Danks was able to throw 36 pitches in a bullpen session yesterday. He’ll still have to make it through another side session Thursday, but Paul Casella of MLB.com reports that he’s tentatively scheduled to make his first minor league rehab start Sunday.

Danks has been sidelined since leaving a start against the Nationals on June 25 with a right oblique strain. He’s scheduled to make two rehab starts before being reevaluated, but White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen indicated that they aren’t in a hurry to bring him back to the big-league rotation.

“Danks threw today, he’s fine,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. [Pitching coach Don Cooper] has got a schedule for him in the Minor Leagues. We’re not going to rush him. We’ve got plenty of days to come back.”

Assuming he needs just the two starts in the minor leagues, Danks lines up to make his return July 20 against against the Royals.

Danks is 3-8 with a 4.21 ERA over 15 starts this season. The 26-year-old left-hander had a 1.14 ERA and 19/3 K/BB ratio over his last four outings prior to the injury.

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.