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Dan Patrick clarifies his comments about Ryan Braun being “innocent”

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In law school they teach you the difference between “innocent” and “not guilty” pretty quickly. Dan Patrick didn’t go to law school, so forgive him for not having that down pat. Today — Via Tom Haurdricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel — he clarifies his comments from yesterday regarding Ryan Braun and “innocence”:

“I want to clarify something I said about Ryan Braun yesterday,” said Patrick. “What I should have said is he could be found not guilty.

“I said (Monday) that Ryan Braun could be, COULD BE, found innocent. The test could be thrown out. I’m getting bits and pieces of what’s going on behind the scenes. We’ve been waiting for information on this.

“If they throw out the test, now this is IF, he could be found not guilty, not innocent. Maybe it’s semantics but I want to correct myself with that. I think there’s a little bit more to the story here.

“Once again, he could be found not guilty, not necessarily innocent.”

Being “not guilty” could simply mean that there was no evidence that he intentionally took a performance-enhancer. He could still, however, have his positive drug test upheld in the same way J.C. Romero’s was, with a decision that it was inadvertent (i.e. a positive sample constituting a lack of innocence).  Because MLB’s drug policy is strict liability, however, he would still be suspended because intention has nothing to do with it.

And you know what? It probably wouldn’t matter. Because I have this feeling that those who judge the PED guys negatively care way more about the stature of the person in question as opposed to the nature of his specific transgression.  Look at how much more flak the famous guys in the Mitchell Report took compared to the random scrubs.  It’s all about sensationalism, not circumstance.

Prediction: If Ryan Braun is “not guilty” of intentionally taking PEDs, but is still suspended due to inadvertent taking of a tainted supplement or something, he will still be treated by many in the media and the public at large like a cheater because he’s a superstar.  It shouldn’t be that way, but I bet that’s how it goes.

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.