File image of Boston Red Sox manager Francona walking back to the dugout during their MLB American League baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park in Boston

More fun excerpts from Terry Francona’s book

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Anecdotes and dirt keep leaking out about Terry Francona’s upcoming book.  Most people think it’s good fun and dishy. Others have a more negative view about Francona going public.  Either way, there are some funny things coming out.

Like this bit about Manny Ramirez in the 2004 World Series, passed along by Chad Finn of the Boston Globe:

During Game 4 of the 2004 World Series, Ramirez got into an argument in Spanish with Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina. Molina was accusing Ramirez of stealing the Cardinals’ signs.

Francona turned toward plate umpire Chuck Meriweather: “Chuck, Manny doesn’t even know our signs.”

Francona turned to Ramirez, and asked, “You don’t know our signs, do you, Manny?”

Ramirez replied, sheepishly, “No.”

Sounds about right. As does the other, far more sinister stuff about Manny and his attitude which Finn passes along. I loved watching that guy hit, but how anyone could manage him is beyond me. Kudos to Francona for doing it so long and not totally flipping out.

Oh, and in this post, Finn quotes a passage with a great Curt Schilling line about Deion Sanders as well as a funny Jeter/A-Rod juxtiposition.

I doubt the book is going to be Great Literature. But it sounds like it’s going to be a great read.

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.