Red Sox, O’s had scouts at Joe Blanton’s start Thursday

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From beat writer Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com comes word that the Red Sox and Orioles had scouts in the stands for Joe Blanton’s Grapefruit League outing Thursday against the Braves.

Blanton threw the ball well, allowing only four hits and no walks in five innings of work while striking out four Atlanta hitters. He has a 2.70 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 10 total Grapefruit League frames.

The Blue Jays are also known to have interest in acquiring Blanton, who missed most of the 2011 season due to an elbow injury but entered camp this spring with a clean bill of health. He’s owed $8.5 million in 2012, but the Phillies are said to be open to eating about $2 million of that. Blanton will be a free agent in the winter.

Astros release Jon Singleton

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The Astros have released first baseman Jon Singleton, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Singleton, 26, was suspended for 100 games after testing positive for a drug of abuse for a third time. He has had issues with marijuana in the post and admitted to being a drug addict several years ago. He said, “At this point it’s pretty evident to me that I’m a drug addict. I don’t openly tell everyone that, but it’s pretty apparent to myself. I know that I enjoy smoking weed, I enjoy being high and I can’t block that out of my mind that I enjoy that. So I have to work against that.”

Singleton played parts of two seasons in the majors in 2014-15 with the Astros, batting a combined .171/.290/.331 with 14 home runs and 50 RBI in — appropriately — 420 plate appearances. He spent 2016 with Triple-A Fresno and 2017 with Double-A Corpus Christi, putting up middling numbers.

If he can convince teams he’s still actively working to overcome his addiction, Singleton may be able to find an opportunity elsewhere. But his road back to the majors remains long. He was once a top prospect in the Phillies’ system, then was traded to the Astros in the Hunter Pence deal back in July 2011.