Johnny Cueto throws batting practice, nears sim game

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Johnny Cueto took another step in his recovery from a strained lat muscle yesterday, throwing 30 pitches of live batting practice to Reds teammates.

Jeremy Warnemuende of MLB.com reports that a simulated game is next on the schedule, at which point Cueto could be cleared to return. And there’s been speculation that the Reds will bring him back as a reliever, with Tim Lincecum’s playoff run for the Giants last season serving as the optimistic model.

Cueto has started just nine games this season in between disabled list stints and all 158 of his big-league appearances have come as a starter.

Dodgers, Reds discussing a Yasiel Puig trade

Yasiel Puig
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Here’s a rumor from yesterday afternoon that sort of fell through the cracks, but it’s fun enough to think about for a few moments: Ken Rosenthal reports that the Dodgers and Reds have had “multiple” trade discussions involving Yasiel Puig.

Puig is a potential trade candidate, either (a) because he’s “disgruntled,” according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times last week; or (b) because the Dodgers want to clear salary and roster spots in order to sign a big-name player, according to Rosenthal here. Many people suspect that the Dodgers are going to make a run at Bryce Harper, for example, and if that’s the case they’d no doubt want to open up right field for him.

It seems questionable that any Reds-Dodgers talks would get a ton of traction, especially given that Rosenthal reports that there’s a possibility of the Dodgers taking on Reds pitcher Homer Bailey and the $28 million he’s still owed in order to get some talent back from the Reds in a trade. That would seem to defeat the purpose of unloading Puig’s salary, but this is the sort of things we all talk about now given that the league has, more or less, a defacto salary cap imposed by the Competitive Balance Tax.