Piniella picks Silva, Gorzelanny for Cubs' rotation

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Lou Piniella announced this afternoon that Tom Gorzelanny and Carlos Silva will begin the season in the Cubs’ rotation, with Jeff Samardzija and Sean Marshall both heading to the bullpen.
“Unfortunately, we only have two spots,” Piniella said, which is funny considering that one of those spots is going to a guy who went 5-18 with a 6.81 ERA over the past two seasons and the other is going to a guy with a 4.87 career ERA. “Only” seems like an odd choice of words.
Assuming no further setbacks in his recovery from shoulder surgery and a knee injury Ted Lilly is expected to join the rotation a couple weeks into the season, at which point the Cubs will presumably move Silva into long relief and demote a reliever to Triple-A.
For now left-hander James Russell is slated for the final bullpen spot, so he’d probably be first in line to get the boot, but if Samardzija struggles initially the Cubs may decide to begin grooming him as a starter again at Triple-A. “Samardzija fits in nice in the bullpen with a power arm,” Piniella said. “He’s done that job before, and from there he can gain experience to work his way into the rotation at some time in the future.”

Rafael Devers won’t visit White House with Red Sox

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The World Series champion Red Sox are scheduled to visit President Trump in the White House on February 15. Some have speculated that manager Álex Cora, who is from Puerto Rico and has been critical of Trump and has been a big factor in Hurricane Maria relief efforts, might not go as a form of protest. Thus far, nothing concrete has been reported on that front.

However, third baseman Rafael Devers says he isn’t going to join the Red Sox on their visit to the White House, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports. Devers would prefer to focus on baseball, as the Red Sox open spring training on February 13 and position players have to report on February 17. Per Chris Mason, Devers also said via a translator, “The opportunity was presented and I just wasn’t compelled to go.”

Devers hails from the Dominican Republic and he, like many of Major League Baseball’s foreign-born player base, might not be happy about Trump’s immigration policies. Understandably, he is being tight-lipped about his motivation, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Devers is making a silent protest by choosing not to attend. He is thus far the only member of the team to bow out.

Devers, 22, hit .240/.298/.433 with 21 home runs, 66 RBI, and 59 runs scored in 490 plate appearances last season.

Last year, when the Astros visited Trump at the White House, they did so without Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltrán. Both are from Puerto Rico. It is certainly not unprecedented for individual players to opt out of the White House visit.

No word yet on what food will be served during Boston’s trip to the nation’s capital, but the smart money is on hamberders.