Tommy Hanson AP

Braves name Tommy Hanson as Opening Day starter

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Mark Bowman of MLB.com passes along word that Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has officially tabbed Tommy Hanson to start Opening Day against the Mets next Thursday. It will be the first Opening Day assignment of his career.

Hanson was limited to just 22 starts last year due to right shoulder problems and missed the first couple weeks of camp after suffering a mild concussion in a one-car accident. Armed with a revamped delivery, the 24-year-old right-hander has a 2.57 ERA and 6/1 K/BB ratio over his first two official Grapefruit League starts. He’s making his final tuneup this afternoon against the Tigers.

Hanson will be followed in the rotation by Jair Jurrjens, Mike Minor and Brandon Beachy. Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran are currently competing for the fifth spot in the rotation while the newly-signed Livan Hernandez is expected to pitch in long relief.

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.