Alex Rodriguez

A-Rod on coming off the bench: “I’ll be ready”

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We heard the news about Alex Rodriguez being benched for Game 5, and the reaction from the manager, now here it is straight from the man himself:

“Obviously I’m not happy and disappointed. You want to be in there in the worst way, but as I keep telling you guys, this isn’t a story about one person. This is about a team, and we have some unfinished business today. Our objective is to win one game tonight and keep this thing moving.”

When if he’s OK coming off the bench — and Joe Girardi said he would pinch hit Rodriguez if and a lefty comes in — he said:

“Without question. I do know in 27 outs, a lot can happen. I’ll be ready.”

He also added that he has no problem with Joe Girardi, saying “It’s never about Joe. I always have to look in the mirror and do what I can do to do the best I can.”

Well, at least he has experience with that.

Seriously, though: those are all the right answers. If anyone is looking to make a bigger deal out of this than “struggling player sits in favor of player with better chance to help team win in a single game,” they’re just looking for stuff that isn’t there.  To the extent this becomes a bigger drama, it’ll happen in the offseason in the event that the Yankees think about fundamentally changing A-Rod’s role with the team.

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.