Tommy Hanson

Tommy Hanson to miss Friday start, but avoid disabled list

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Tommy Hanson’s struggles since the All-Star break and diminished velocity have convinced the Braves to scratch him from Friday’s scheduled start, but Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that he’ll avoid the disabled list for now.

Hanson declined to discuss whether he’s been pitching through any arm problems while posting an 8.10 ERA since the All-Star break, but there’s been speculation about his shoulder hurting.

Hanson had a 2.89 ERA in 2009, a 3.33 ERA in 2010, and a 2.44 ERA through the All-Star break this year, but in five second-half starts he’s coughed up 24 runs in 27 innings while allowing opponents to hit .313 with a .970 OPS.

Because the Braves have an off day Thursday they can skip Hanson’s turn in the rotation and use Mike Minor on regular rest without changing anyone else’s schedule. And in the meantime Braves fans will hope a week off is enough to cure the 24-year-old ace.

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.