Michael Pineda

Mariners will limit Michael Pineda’s workload with extra rest between starts

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Throughout the first half the Mariners talked about potentially finding ways to limit rookie Michael Pineda’s workload and it sounds like they’ve decided to go with extra rest between starts.

Pineda, who’s currently on pace to throw around 195 innings, will have nine days off before making his next start and manager Eric Wedge told Greg Johns of MLB.com that the Mariners “will pick spots” to give him similar extra rest down the stretch with “a day here, two days there, that type of deal where we can spread it out a little more.”

Pineda has been fantastic with a 3.53 ERA, .205 opponents’ batting average, and 133/43 K/BB ratio in 21 starts, but the 22-year-old right-hander has never thrown even 140 innings in a season before and Seattle won’t be playing for much besides draft position in September. Wedge declined to “go public with” a specific innings limit, but the plan he describes would probably leave Pineda throwing around 175 innings.

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.