Johnny Cueto diagnosed with mild oblique strain, remains on Reds’ roster for now

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Johnny Cueto left his Game 1 start in the first inning with what was initially said to be back spasms, but the Reds have diagnosed him with a mild right oblique strain.

Not only do they remain undecided about removing Cueto from the playoff roster–which would make him ineligible to return before the World Series–the Reds still haven’t ruled out having him start Game 4 on Wednesday.

That seems awfully unlikely at the very least, but clearly the Reds want to avoid losing Cueto for a potential NLCS matchup if at all possible. And if they win tonight there won’t be a Game 4 and Cueto will have more time to rest.

“But if it’s unavoidable, then that’s something different,” manager Dusty Baker said, via Mark Sheldon of MLB.com “We’re weighing our options.” Baker also confirmed that if the Reds do remove Cueto from the NLDS roster Mike Leake would replace him.

Josh Donaldson is still seeking a long-term deal with the Blue Jays

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If it were up to him, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson would finish the remainder of his career in Toronto. In fact, he’d be “ticked pink” if the club decided to sign him to a long-term deal. Whether the Blue Jays share that sentiment is still unclear, as Donaldson said Saturday that the team has yet to engage his agent in extension talks.

“I’ve said that I wanted to be here,” he told MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm. “That’s pretty much all I can say. I’m not the one who makes the decisions, nor would I try to put them in the position to do that. Like I said, I believe the situation will become more fluid when the time is right.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean an extension is out of the question. The Blue Jays reached an unprecedented one-year, $23 million agreement with the three-time All-Star in arbitration, and have been reticent to field trade offers despite continued interest from the Cardinals this winter.

Donaldson, 32, is poised to enter his eighth season in the majors and fourth with the Blue Jays. In 2017, he batted .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs and a .944 OPS in 496 plate appearances, ranking sixth among all major league third baseman with 5.0 fWAR. He’s scheduled to enter free agency following the 2018 season.