Philadelphia Phillies v Arizona Diamondbacks

Placido Polanco “definitely” still bothered by sports hernia

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Placido Polanco went 0-for-8 with three strikeouts in the first two games against the Cardinals and also looked somewhat limited defensively at times, with manager Charlie Manuel admitting yesterday that the third baseman’s sports hernia may still be affecting him.

“I think it bothers him some,” Manuel told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. “He’s missed time because of it, and I think it plays a part in his movement and things. He gets real tight and sore, and I think it definitely bothers him.”

Even before beginning the playoffs with eight hitless at-bats Polanco batted just .243 with a .591 OPS in 96 games following a big April, but he was reasonably productive after returning from the disabled list in late August, hitting .282 with a .682 OPS in 33 games. It seems pretty clear that he’s playing through the pain at less than 100 percent, but that doesn’t preclude him from still being the Phillies’ best option.

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.

Royals sign Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 02:  Starting pitcher Danny Duffy #41 of the Kansas City Royals pitches during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on September 2, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Kansas City Royals have signed starter Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension.

Duffy was arbitration eligible this offseason and would’ve been a free agent next winter if he hadn’t signed the deal. Given his stuff he might’ve made a mint as a free agent, but he’s also been inconsistent at times and any pitcher is an injury away from losing a payday, making this a nice, lucrative bet for the lefty.

Duffy, 28, posted a 3.51 ERA and a 188/42 K/BB ratio across 179.2 innings in 2016.