Reds sign lefty Jeff Francis to minor league contract

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From Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com comes word that the Reds have reached agreement on a minor league contract with free agent lefty Jeff Francis.

The deal carries an invitation to major league spring training, where Francis will presumably get a shot at landing a spot in Cincinnati’s starting rotation.

Francis, 31, posted a troubling 4.82 ERA and 91/39 K/BB ratio in 183 innings last season for the Royals. But all minor league deals are low-risk, and the Reds can simply try someone else if he doesn’t pan out as the innings-eater they were hoping for.

Astros’ Jonathan Singleton, Dean Deetz suspended for failing drug tests

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MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports that Astros first baseman Jonathan Singleton has been suspended 100 games after testing positive for a drug of abuse for a third time. Minor league pitcher Dean Deetz has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for Dehydroclormethyltestosterone.

Singleton, 26, has had issues with marijuana in the past and opened up about his addiction several years ago. He said, “At this point it’s pretty evident to me that I’m a drug addict. I don’t openly tell everyone that, but it’s pretty apparent to myself.” He added, “I know that I enjoy smoking weed, I enjoy being high and I can’t block that out of my mind that I enjoy that. So I have to work against that.”

Singleton hasn’t played in the majors since 2015. Last season, after going all the way back to Double-A Corpus Christi, he hit .205/.376/.397 with 18 home runs and 62 RBI in 500 plate appearances.

Deetz, 24, was selected by the Astros in the 11th round of the 2014 draft. Between Corpus Christi and Triple-A Fresno last season, the right-hander posted a 4.25 ERA with a 97/50 K/BB ratio in 84 2/3 innings of work. He denies knowingly using a PED, per ESPN’s Keith Law.