chris carpenter ap

Chris Carpenter hasn’t ruled out pitching this season

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Chris Carpenter underwent season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome in July and at the time the big question was whether he’d be ready to contribute to the Cardinals next season.

Now it turns out the surgery may not have been “season-ending” after all, because Carpenter has been throwing bullpen sessions recently in attempt to gauge his readiness for 2013 and … well, he’s felt so good that returning this year is suddenly not impossible.

Carpenter threw a 40-pitch bullpen session yesterday, at which point Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch asked if he’d be able to pitch this season and the former Cy Young winner replied: “I don’t know. Let’s see what happens.”

Hummel then told Mike Matheny about Carpenter’s response, to which the manager said: “That’s a heckuva answer. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. It was fun to watch today.”

It’s worth noting that the Cardinals aren’t exactly hurting for rotation depth and in fact just demoted Lance Lynn to the bullpen less than two months after he made the All-Star team as a starter. The odds are obviously stacked against Carpenter making any kind of major impact down the stretch, but then again he’s already made a mockery of the odds with this rapid comeback.

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.