Boston made a pair of key roster moves, placing shortstop Stephen Drew on the seven-day disabled list for concussions and optioning right-hander Daniel Bard to Double-A.
Drew hasn’t played since being hit on the helmet by a pitch on March 7, struggling with dizziness and other post-concussion symptoms. Jose Iglesias will step in as the Opening Day shortstop.
Bard’s nightmare 2012 season has continued this spring with seven runs allowed in eight innings, although he has managed 10 strikeouts compared to four walks. He actually looked good early in camp, but has really struggled recently. Clayton Mortensen is expected to take the final spot in the Red Sox’s bullpen as they wait for Bard to show signs of being the dominant setup man from 2009-2011. Bard hasn’t pitched at Double-A since 2008, when he threw 50 innings with a 1.99 ERA and 64 strikeouts.
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.
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.