Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies

Phillies shut down Kyle Kendrick due to lingering shoulder issue

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The Phillies have shut down Kyle Kendrick for the remainder of the season, reports Chris Branch of the News Journal. Veteran journeyman Zach Miner, who has filled in for Kendrick once already on Wednesday, will take Kendrick’s remaining starts. The Phillies have “TBA” listed for Tuesday’s start against the Marlins. Assuming Miner starts then, he would be on track to pitch the final game of the season in Atlanta against the Braves as well.

Kendrick, dealing with tendinitis in his shoulder, last pitched a week ago, allowing six runs in four and one-third innings against the Nationals. He had an MRI on Tuesday after which the Phillies figured he would be able to make two more starts before the end of the season, but they decided to play it safe and shut him down rather than risk further damage. Kendrick will finish with a 4.70 ERA in 30 starts spanning 182 innings.

After impressing the club in each of the past two seasons — in 2011 as a swing-man; last year as a new-and-improved starter — and posting good numbers in the first half of 2013 (3.68 ERA), Kendrick’s second half has been abysmal (6.91 ERA). The timing couldn’t have been worse for the Phillies as he will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration after earning $4.5 million this season. During the off-season, GM Ruben Amaro will have to decide between non-tendering Kendrick, or keeping him around at a salary likely between $5-6 million. As the Phillies will also be weighing the pros and cons of keeping Roy Halladay around, Kendrick may prove superfluous in the team’s 2014 plans.

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.