Johnny Cueto’s minor-league rehab assignment is over after two starts at Single-A and John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that he’ll come off the disabled list to start for the Reds on Monday.
Cueto allowed one run in eight innings while rehabbing, striking out eight and walking zero, so he certainly seems ready to return after sitting out a month with lat and oblique injuries.
No word yet on who’ll be bumped from the Reds’ rotation. Based on merit it would be Mike Leake, who has a 4.32 ERA in seven starts and wasn’t much good last season. Based on veteran-ness Leake might stick around, in which case rookie left-hander Tony Cingrani could lose his spot despite being extremely impressive with a 2.89 ERA and 37/7 K/BB ratio in 28 innings.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.