Johnny Cueto sharp in rehab start, says he’s ready to return

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C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer was with the Low-A Dayton Dragons on Tuesday night to take in Johnny Cueto’s latest minor league rehab start. And he reported back promising news.

Cueto allowed no runs and just three hits over five innings against an affiliate of the Tigers, issuing no walks and fanning four. He threw 58 pitches — 39 for strikes — and then rattled off another 23 deliveries in the Fifth Third Field bullpen after exiting the game.

“Yeah, I’m feeling ready,” Cueto told Rosecrans in the Dayton Dragons clubhouse afterward. “I worked all my pitches like I would have had to in a real game. I approached it like a normal game.”

Cueto has been on the disabled list since April 15 with a strained right lat. He is hoping to return to the Reds’ rotation at some point early next week. Mike Leake or Tony Cingrani will be demoted to make room.

Rangers will not exercise Mike Napoli’s 2018 option

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The Rangers have informed 1B/DH Mike Napoli the club will not exercise his 2018 option, worth $11 million, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Instead, the Rangers will pay Napoli $2.5 million to buy him out of his contract, making him a free agent.

Napoli, 35, hit a disappointing .193/.285/.428 with 29 home runs and 66 RBI in 485 plate appearances this past season. Given his age and declining production, it’s not shocking that the Rangers want to look elsewhere.

Napoli turns 36 at the end of the month. Given his age and worsening peripheral stats, he will likely have to settle for a one-year deal this offseason.