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Johnny Cueto passes first test in return

He’s back. Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto has been out for months after three DL stints because of a strained lat muscle. There was a long period when it was unclear whether Cueto could return to the mound, but after going through a more extensive downtime and a gradual throwing progression, including a modification of his throwing motion, indeed he has.

Cueto was activated Monday and started against the Houston Astros.

It was not clear what to expect from Cueto in his early outings, because his rehab sessions consisted only of bullpen workouts and simulated games. He may not be able to go especially deep into games initially, but the Reds are simply looking for results.

Cueto delivered five scoreless innings (including five strikeouts) Monday night, and could face the Pirates this weekend. Five innings is a small sample size, but fantasy owners may be willing to roll the dice on an outing or two from Cueto.