Johnny Cueto scratched from Reds’ finale with Cardinals

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The Reds will be trying for a three-game sweep of the Cardinals this evening at Great American Ball Park, but they’ll have to get it done without their ace.

According to C. Trent Rosecrans of CBS Sports, right-hander Johnny Cueto has been scratched from his scheduled turn in the starting rotation due to a blister on his throwing hand. Homer Bailey will hop ahead one spot and take the mound in his place.

Cueto will try again Tuesday vs. the Diamondbacks.

The 26-year-old Dominican right-hander has posted a spectacular 2.39 ERA and 1.16 WHIP through 18 starts this season for the first-place Reds, fanning 91 batters and walking 27 across 120 1/3 innings. He owns a 3.61 career ERA and a 1.27 career WHIP.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.