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Houston Astros will visit the White House

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Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports that the White House has invited the Houston Astros to visit president Trump later this year and that the Astros will make the trip. It may be as early as spring training, actually, as the Astros do not visit Baltimore until the last series of the season and do not play the Nationals in interleague play this year.

This would not have been a story at all in years past, but since Donald Trump took office a number of athletes, such as the Yankees’ CC Sabathia, and one professional championship team — The Golden State Warriors — have either declined Trump’s invitation (Trump said they were “disinvited,” but did so after they said they would not come) or said they would not go if the occasion presented itself.

Earlier in the offseason the Astros as a team said they were undecided, but several individual players said they would go if asked. That group included World Series MVP George Springer and ace Dallas KeuchelThird baseman Alex Bregman, who has been sharply critical of Trump, said that he’d follow whatever two of his teammates decide, saying “I’m going to do whatever Carlos Beltran and Carlos Correa do.” Beltran is retired now. Both he and Correa have been critical of the Trump Administration’s response to the damage caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. There are always some no-shows for presidential visits. It would not be shocking if Bregman, Correa and Beltran, who would likely be invited along given that he was a leader on the World Series-winning team, are among the no-shows.

The rest of the Astros, however — at least most of them — will be here.

Marcus Stroman: Blue Jays are “f– terrible”

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Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman strugged in Sunday afternoon’s start against the Red Sox, yielding four runs (three earned) over five innings. He fell to 2-7 with a 5.86 ERA. The Jays dropped three of four games to the Sox in the series and now sit with a 43-52 record heading into the All-Star break.

Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun reports that while Stroman was initially cool, calm, and collected when speaking to the media after the game, he eventually snapped. Stroman was asked by a reporter about breaking into professional baseball with short-season Single-A Vancouver in 2012. Stroman yelled at the reporter, noting that his team had just lost to the Red Sox, and called his team “f– terrible.” Keegan Matheson’s account of the situation lines up with Buffery’s as well.

Prior to the outburst, Stroman had just praised his teammates, saying, “My team picks me up a ton. They pick me up all year. I should be able to pitch better in times like that when my team doesn’t have my back. Because they’ve had my back a ton of times. So, love my guys on my team and like I said, I would go to war with them any day.”

Stroman will have off until Friday, so hopefully the time off helps him clear his mind. It has understandably been a frustrating season in Toronto.