Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez are back in the Dodgers’ lineup for tonight’s game against the Giants, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. Puig will bat second and play center field while Ramirez will bat fourth and take his spot at shortstop. Matt Kemp starts in right field again.
Puig has played in one game since last Saturday, when he was hit in the hand with a Joe Kelly fastball. He has otherwise had a great year, slashing .308/.398/.519 with 12 home runs, 52 RBI, and seven stolen bases.
Ramirez hasn’t played since July 20, when he was hit twice by Cardinals pitchers: once in the fourth by Carlos Martinez, and once in the ninth by Trevor Rosenthal. The latter forced Ramirez out of the game, and out of the lineup for several days. (Kelly, by the way, broke one of Ramirez’s ribs with a pitch in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series last year.) Ramirez has been slowed by a litany of minor injuries this season, but has still managed to post a .273/.372/.463 slash line with 11 home runs, 49 RBI, and 12 stolen bases.
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.