Jed Lowrie AP

Jed Lowrie on track to come off disabled list Friday

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Jed Lowrie’s sprained right thumb prevented him from being on the Opening Day roster, but he could make his Astros’ debut later this week.

According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, Lowrie is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment tomorrow with Triple-A Oklahoma City. He got the go-ahead after taking batting practice from both sides of the plate on Sunday. The current plan calls for him to play rehab games on Tuesday and Wednesday before coming off the disabled list for Friday’s series opener against the Marlins.

Lowrie is expected to serve as the Astros’ starting shortstop this season after coming over from the Red Sox in the Mark Melancon deal, but injuries have been a constant theme during his career. The 27-year-old has never played more than 88 games in a season.

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.