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Clay Buchholz cleared to start on Tuesday

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Scott Labuer of the Boston Herald shares the big news:

NEW YORK — Clay Buchholz’ long nightmare is over.

After missing three months with a shoulder injury that seemed like it would never heal, Buchholz is slated to start Tuesday night’s series opener against the Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla. As one final tuneup, he threw a bullpen session here today.

Buchholz opened the season 9-0 with a dominant 1.71 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 81/29 K/BB ratio over his first 84 1/3 innings, but he hasn’t appeared in a major league game since June 8.

“Mentally I’m ready,” Buchholz told reporters after his bullpen session Sunday morning at Yankee Stadium. “I think that’s what everyone was questioning — mental toughness and everything. But I know my body better than everybody else does. I’m comfortable pitching now. There’s nothing wrong that’s come up.”

Boston entered play Sunday with a huge 8.5-game lead in the American League East standings.

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.

Royals sign Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 02:  Starting pitcher Danny Duffy #41 of the Kansas City Royals pitches during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on September 2, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Kansas City Royals have signed starter Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension.

Duffy was arbitration eligible this offseason and would’ve been a free agent next winter if he hadn’t signed the deal. Given his stuff he might’ve made a mint as a free agent, but he’s also been inconsistent at times and any pitcher is an injury away from losing a payday, making this a nice, lucrative bet for the lefty.

Duffy, 28, posted a 3.51 ERA and a 188/42 K/BB ratio across 179.2 innings in 2016.