Roy Oswalt

Roy Oswalt will make his Rangers debut Friday in Texas

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When the Rangers signed him last month Roy Oswalt said he’d need four starts in the minors to get ready and sure enough the 34-year-old veteran is now on his way to the majors after one start at Double-A and three starts at Triple-A.

Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star Telegram reports that Oswalt will join the Rangers’ rotation Friday against the Rockies, which means his debut will come at home versus a National League team with a 25-41 record and the league’s second-worst road OPS.

That’s about as favorable as a first matchup can get and based on his stint in the minors Oswalt may need the help, as he totaled 15 innings with a 5.87 ERA, .308 opponents’ batting average, and 13/4 K/BB ratio. Of course, he can’t be any worse than Scott Feldman, who went 1-6 with a 6.43 ERA in eight starts stepping into the injury wrecked rotation and has now been demoted back to the bullpen to make room for Oswalt.

Oswalt started 23 games for the Phillies last season, logging 139 innings with a 3.69 ERA and 93/33 K/BB ratio while battling back problems that had him considering retirement. His one-year deal with the Rangers is worth $5 million, plus another $1 million in potential incentives.

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)
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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.