Phillies pitcher Halladay takes a breather during a workout before a MLB spring training baseball game with the Yankees in Clearwater

Roy Halladay’s depressing spring training ends on a mediocre note

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One can only hope that Roy Halladay has a different gear for the regular season than he’s had this spring, because it hasn’t been all that encouraging. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com has the wrapup from his final outing:

The righthander pitched 4 1/3 innings and allowed eight hits and two runs before leaving the game at his prescribed limit of 96 pitches.

Halladay has struggled much of the spring with ineffectiveness and diminished velocity. On the plus side, his velocity was better Thursday. His fastball sat between 88 and 90 mph, according to one scout, and he touched 91 mph. The pitcher’s command, however, was an issue. He was consistently up in the strike zone and at one point threw 10 balls in an 11-pitch stretch.

He walked two and struck out six. For the spring, Doc posted a 6.06 ERA in 16 and a third innings while allowing 21 hits while walking nine and striking out 16.

Silver lining: many have said that Halladay spent much of the spring trying to build up arm strength, so maybe being fine was not his primary goal.  The scary part: a lot of people say that about spring training.

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.