Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto was slated for up to four innings and 60 pitches Saturday in a split-squad game against the Rockies. Instead, he departed after just one. He has battled stiffness issues in his throwing biceps and forearm through much of the spring.
Reds manager Dusty Baker said the malady Saturday was "similar" but "not as bad." Cueto indicated he wanted to stay in, but the Reds opted to err on the side of caution. (Mark Sheldon via Twitter )
Cueto immediately met with a doctor and reportedly will talk to the media later Saturday. It's "unlikely" he begins the season in the starting rotation, reports John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer . UPDATE: Now Fay tweets that pitching coach Bryan Price said, "if this was the playoffs, he wouldn't have said anything. But this time of year, we're being ultra-cautious." So maybe Cueto will be fine by the start of the season after all.
On the bright side for the Reds, they aren't starving for starting pitching depth. If Cueto went down for any amount of time, Homer Bailey, Travis Wood and Mike Leake could round things out behind Edinson Volquez and Bronson Arroyo. The three combined to make 58 starts last season, which each having at least 17.
Wood pitched in the other split-squad game for the Reds Saturday, against the Diamondbacks, so he would make sense to slide into the No. 3 spot in the rotation -- should Cueto be injured.
Cueto, 25, was 12-7 with a 3.64 ERA and 1.28 WHIP last season.
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