Johnny Cueto has been cleared to begin a minor-league rehab assignment and will start Friday at Double-A, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Cueto has been out since April 13 with a strained lat muscle, but reported no problems following a 45-pitch bullpen session yesterday and is slated to throw 60-70 pitches Friday.
There’s no official timetable yet for his return from the disabled list, but the Reds have indicated that they won’t rush Cueto back and at least 2-3 starts seems likely.
The Cleveland Indians have released Mike Napoli.
This is not terribly surprising as he was seen as a depth move to begin with. Injury insurance for Yonder Alonso at first base and Edwin Encarnacion at DH, neither of whom are injured at the moment. Napoli was on a minor league contract and the Indians made it clear that, if he can’t find a major league job elsewhere, he’s welcome to come back and cool his heels in Columbus in the event he’s needed later.
Which may be what happens if he wants to keep playing because, after a season in which he hit .193/.285/.428, and a spring in which he hit .218/.310/.431, there aren’t likely to be a ton of takers.