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Dodgers not rushing Hanley Ramirez back from hamstring injury

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While the Dodgers lost 7-0 to the Cardinals last night and currently sit at 19-27 on the season, they aren’t about to rush Hanley Ramirez back from his left hamstring injury.

Austin Laymance of MLB.com reports that Ramirez ran curves, took batting practice and fielded ground balls before last night’s game. He estimated that he’s only running at about 85 percent, but he plans to test his hamstring by running the bases today.

Ramirez returned from a torn thumb ligament on April 29, but he strained his hamstring in his fourth game back on a slide into third base. While he hopes to begin a minor league rehab assignment “soon,” he was told by teammate Matt Kemp that he shouldn’t push himself too soon. Kemp should know, as he made it back from a left hamstring strain as soon as he was eligible last year, but aggravated the injury two days later and ended up missing six weeks.

“They know what’s happened before to guys that try to come back early and it didn’t work,” Ramirez said. “[Kemp] told me you have to be 100 percent and don’t try to come back early. By the time I get back, I want to make it all the way to the end of the season.”

Ramirez was originally given a timetable of 4-6 weeks, so he appears on track to rejoin the Dodgers in early-to-mid June.

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.