The Royals are interested in Johnny Cueto

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Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports that the Royals are “pushing hard” for Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto. He adds, however, that their needs for an outfielder — particularly following the unfortunate injury to Alex Gordon — may trump their need for a starter.

Cueto, 29, has put together another terrific season, owning a 2.73 ERA with a 113/22 K/BB ratio over 118 2/3 innings. The 40-47, fourth-place Reds are shopping Cueto as he is eligible for free agency after the season.

Meanwhile, the 53-35, first-place Royals are looking to bolster a rotation currently led by Edinson Volquez and is otherwise not reliable for late season drama or in a short post-season series. Jeremy Guthrie, Yordano Ventura, and Danny Duffy have ERA’s of 4.65 or worse.

Robinson Canó benched for lack of hustle

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Mets second baseman Robinson Canó is not in the lineup for Monday’s series opener against the division rival Nationals. Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, it’s punishment for failing to run hard on a pair of double plays over the weekend against the Marlins.

Manager Mickey Callaway said, “He understands that it’s unacceptable to not run balls out. He understands that he needs to do that at all times.”

Canó first gaffe came in the top of the seventh inning on Friday, with his team trailing 7-3. Facing Adam Conley, Canó hit a grounder back to the pitcher, who turned a 1-6-3 double play. Canó was only halfway up the first base line when the throw got to first base.

In the fourth inning on Sunday, with the game still scoreless, Canó tapped a Sandy Alcantara pitch in the dirt. Thinking it was foul, Canó didn’t run, but catcher Chad Wallach charged and grabbed the ball while it was still in fair territory. He threw to second base for the force out and then the ball was easily whipped to first base to complete the double play as Canó still thought it was foul.

This likely wouldn’t be as big a deal as it currently is if Canó were actually producing at the plate and if the Mets weren’t in a freefall. Canó has a .245/.293/.374 batting line on the season. Meanwhile, the Mets are 20-25 and riding a five-game losing streak which includes having been shut out in each of their last two games.