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Ryne Sandberg sounds frustrated with Jimmy Rollins

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Freddy Galvis started at shortstop over Jimmy Rollins in Wednesday’s Grapefruit League game at the Orioles’ spring training complex in Sarasota, Florida and Galvis will be getting the start again in Thursday’s home game versus the Yankees.

Rollins is considered to be fully healthy and the Phillies typically play all of their projected starters in spring home games, so reporters asked manager Ryne Sandberg to explain the peculiar absences.

Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com has the story:

Sandberg likes competition within a team. Given that, he was asked whether Galvis could be creeping up on Rollins, the Phillies starter at shortstop for 13 seasons.

“Freddy’s a guy that will get playing time at various positions,” Sandberg said. “He’s a guy that I like in the lineup. I felt good about what he brings to the table. The biggest thing I like is his energy and his positive influence, his positive influence on everyone around him.”

Sandberg was asked what he would say about Rollins in that regard.

“No comment,” the manager said.

It was certainly an interesting response.

Stay tuned Thursday to see where this goes.

Rollins has been criticized in the past for a lack of hustle, and former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel even benched him at one point. Now it appears that Sandberg is trying to send an early message. But does he really want his 35-year-old shortstop (who has a history of leg injuries) going all-out in mid-March?

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.