Johnny Cueto cleared to begin throwing

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The last time we saw Johnny Cueto in action, he was walking off the mound in the first inning of Game 1 of the NLDS against the Giants due to an oblique injury. It’s fair to wonder how the postseason would have played out had he been healthy, but the good news for Reds fans is that the injury is now behind him.

According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Cueto was cleared to begin throwing after being examined today by Reds medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek. He should have a normal offseason and believes he’ll “probably” pitch for his native Native Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.

Cueto posted a 2.78 ERA and 170/49 K/BB ratio over 217 innings this past season. The 26-year-old right-hander finished fourth in the balloting for the National League Cy Young award.

The Cards dealt Stephen Piscotty to the A’s, in part, so he could be near his ailing mother

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Last night we wrote about the rumored deal between the Cardinals and the Athletics for Stephen Piscotty. The deal is now official, with Piscotty going to Oakland for minor leaguers Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock.

Something else emerged about the deal today: a big reason why St. Louis traded Piscotty to Oakland as opposed to another team was so that he could be near his mother, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease last May. Piscotty and his family are from Pleasanton, California, about 35 miles from Oakland.

Here’s Cardinals GM John Mozeliak:

This was certainly a baseball trade — Piscotty became expendable for the Cardinals after they acquired Marcell Ozuna yesterday — but it was one which could’ve been made with any team with a couple of red or white chip prospects. That Mozeliak considered Piscotty’s personal situation in making the deal with the A’s is a credit to him and his staff.

The 26-year-old Piscotty hit .235 with nine homers and 39 RBIs in 107 games last season. He has hit .268 with 38 homers and 163 RBIs in 2+ major league seasons. He agreed to a six-year, $33.5 million contract extension last spring.

As for the prospects in return: Munoz, 22, hit .300 with 13 homers and 68 RBIs this year for Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville. Schrock, 23, batted .321 with seven homers and 46 RBIs for Midland, and was a Texas League All-Star.