Brandon Webb rangers

Brandon Webb remains in limbo after shoulder surgeries

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Doing a webchat at Diamondbacks.com on Thursday, free agent Brandon Webb said he hasn’t thrown lately, but that he still hasn’t given up on making it back to the majors.

“I haven’t retired yet,” Webb said. “But, I did stop throwing a couple months ago, so I don’t know. I may pick up a ball this winter just to see where I’m at and go from there, but nothing as of right now. I’m just kind of hanging out. Nothing finalized yet.”

Webb was doing the chat in advance of the Diamondbacks’ first-ever Alumni Game at Chase Field on Saturday. He still isn’t sure whether he’ll try pitching in the game.

“As of right now, I don’t know if I can, with my arm,” he said. “I’m going to go to the workout on Saturday and see how that goes. I know everyone is going to ask that and some of the guys are asking. It’s still up in the air. But if not, I’m going to manage. Assistant skipper, you can say.”

Pitching for Arizona, Webb finished first, second and second in the NL Cy Young balloting from 2006-08, but he injured his shoulder in his first start of the 2009 season and hasn’t appeared in a major league game since. He struggled in the minors after signing with the Rangers last year and had his most recent shoulder operation on his rotator cuff last August.

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.