MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch is reporting that Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira will make his Grapefruit League debut on Thursday or Friday this week. Teixeira, who turns 34 shortly after the regular season begins, is optimistic about the health of his surgically repaired wrist, though he did say recently that he expects it to be stiff throughout the year. He played in only 15 games last season.
Hoch adds that Michael Pineda will make his spring training debut on Friday. The Yankees’ big return in the Jesus Montero trade with the Mariners, Pineda has missed the entirety of the last two seasons due to labrum surgery in his right shoulder. In his only season in the big leagues back in 2011, he impressed with a 3.74 ERA over 28 starts, resulting in a fifth-place finish in AL Rookie of the Year balloting. The Yankees are hoping he can recapture that magic and earn a spot at the back of the starting rotation.
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.
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.