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Tigers won’t rush Austin Jackson back from hamstring strain

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Austin Jackson is eligible to return from the disabled list on Monday, but it’s unlikely he’ll be ready by then.

According to Chris Iott of MLive.com, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said today that Jackson “really hasn’t done any physical activity” since he was placed on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring on May 12. He’s expected to go out on a minor league rehab assignment before being activated, so it sounds like he’s still a ways off.

“I want it right,” Leyland said. “We talked about that today: ‘Get it right.’ I don’t want him to come back 85 percent and try to play and then do it again. Try to get it as close to 100 percent as you can. You might not get it to 100 percent. Who knows.”

Jackson was batting .272/.333/.371 with two home runs, 11 RBI, five stolen bases and a .704 OPS in 34 games prior to the injury. Avisail Garcia, Don Kelly, and Andy Dirks have all played center field during his absence while Dirks and Omar Infante have split leadoff duties.

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.