Johnny Cueto to make first rehab start Friday

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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.

Astros officially announce the Michael Brantley signing

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The Astros officially announced their signing of outfielder Michael Brantley to a two-year, $32 million deal.

Brantley, 31, played a mostly full season last year for the first time since 2015. He hit .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 631 plate appearances. He made the AL All-Star squad for the third time in his career.

As previously reported, the Astros plan to rotate Brantley between left field, first base, and DH.

Merry Christmas, Mr. Brantley.