Brian McCann AP

Brian McCann homers twice in first rehab game

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Brian McCann is expected to spend around two weeks on his minor league rehab assignment as he works his way back from offseason shoulder surgery, but his bat might be ready right now.

According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, McCann homered in each of his first two at-bats last night in his first rehab game with Class A Rome. He drew two walks and ground into a double play in his other three plate appearances. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes that he made two throwing errors in six innings behind the plate, so perhaps his arm is a bit behind his bat at this point.

The current plan calls for McCann to play five games with Rome before reporting to Triple-A Gwinnett late next week to play what will likely be another five games. Barring any setbacks, he could be activated from the disabled list sometime during the week of May 6.

McCann might not be ready for a full workload right out of the gate, so the Braves should still be able to find at-bats for Evan Gattis after his impressive showing this month. Ultimately, it’s a pretty nice problem to have.

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.