Johnny Cueto activated from disabled list for Sunday start

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As first reported by beat writer John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Reds have activated right-hander Johnny Cueto from the 15-day disabled list. Pedro Villarreal was sent to Triple-A Louisville in a corresponding move to clear a 25-man roster spot.

Cueto will return to the Cincy starting rotation on Sunday afternoon for the Reds’ series finale with the Brewers. He wound up missing exactly 15 days (the minimum) because of a strained right lat muscle.

Tony Cingrani is going to stick around for Sunday’s game to back up Cueto, who did not make a rehab start and will probably be on some kind of pitch count in his return to action.

Cingrani will likely be shipped back to the Triple-A level early next week.

Cueto, 27, has an excellent 2.17 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 34/13 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. Cincinnati is currently 3 1/2 games back of the Cardinals in the National League Central standings.

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.