Fresh off completing a 50-game suspension for testing positive for testosterone, Athletics right-hander Bartolo Colon will make his season debut tonight against the Astros. Since Colon was only able to serve 45 games of his suspension in 2012, he was ineligible to join the A’s active roster until the sixth game of the season.
Colon was a valued member of Oakland’s rotation prior to his suspension last August, posting a 3.43 ERA and 91/23 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings across 24 starts. Despite putting the team in a bit of a bind down the stretch, the 39-year-old was brought back this winter on a one-year, $3 million contract.
As Matthew noted early this morning, the Athletics demoted Dan Straily to Triple-A Sacramento in order to make room for Colon on the roster. Straily struck out career-high 11 batters in last night’s win over the Astros, so he hardly deserved to be sent down, but there’s no room for him in the rotation at the moment.
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.