Philadelphia Phillies v Detroit Tigers

Jonathan Pettibone experiencing more shoulder soreness

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The A.J. Burnett signing is sounding more and more important for the Phillies with every piece of pitcher-related news that comes out, it seems. At around the same time the Phillies handed a contract to Burnett, they announced that Cole Hamels wouldn’t be ready for Opening Day due to shoulder tendinitis.

Now, according to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly, Jonathan Pettibone is feeling shoulder discomfort again. GM Ruben Amaro said the injury is “similar, but not as severe” as the shoulder injury that brought Pettibone’s season to an end in late July last season.

Pettibone on his injury:

“It’s kind of the early stages of what happened last year,” he said. “So it’s good that we stop it early and jump on some anti-inflammatories and hopefully get it before it gets too serious.”

Pettibone was expected to compete for the #5 spot in the rotation along with Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and Roberto Hernandez. The Phillies’ pitching depth is razor-thin as it is, having also learned in January that Adam Morgan will miss most of the 2014 season.

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.