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.

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.