After five years, Johnny Cueto finally has an extra-base hit

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Reds starter Johnny Cueto delivered a ground rule double in the third inning Sunday, giving him his first extra-base hit in his 217th major league at-bat.

Cueto entered the day with a lifetime .088/.124/.088 line and four RBI in 216 at-bats. He was 2-for-24 with 10 strikeouts this season.

Apparently, the rare need for him to run the bases exhausted him; he had water brought to the mound for him while he was working in the fourth.

Cueto continued to pitch well afterwards, though. He allowed just one run in seven innings against the Mets to improve to 8-3 on the season.

Cueto’s .088 slugging percentage at the beginning of the day was the 11th lowest for anyone with at least 200 career plate appearances (since 1900). The all-time low mark belonged to Rob Herbel, a 1960’s pitcher who hit .029/.065/.034 in 206 at-bats. Among the more recent pitchers to fare worse than Cueto were Brian Moehler (.045/.098/.054 in 202 AB) and Ben Sheets (.078/.115/.085 in 436 AB).

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.