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Tag:Johnny Cueto
Posted on: July 17, 2010 11:56 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2010 1:31 pm
 

Volquez impressive in return

Less than a year after undergoing Tommy John surgery, Edinson Volquez was on the mound once again Saturday night, throwing 95 with a viscous changeup. In front of a sell-out crowd at Great American Ball Park, Volquez allowed just three hits to the Colorado Rockies and struck out nine in six innings, as the Reds kept pace with the Cardinals thanks to an 8-1 victory.

"Getting Volky back, especially a productive Volquez, is like making a major trade," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "You get a guy back, it'd be hard to find anyone out there better than he was. That was an outstanding performance, and he picked our whole team up. The guys are elated to have him back, you could tell the way they responded."

Edinson Volquez Volquez, an All-Star in 2008, joins a Reds rotation that started slow but has come on strong of late, in part bolstered by rookie Travis Wood. Wood, who was edged out for the fifth starter's spot in spring training by Mike Leake, will make his fourth start on Sunday. Despite not picking up a win in his first three starts, Wood impressed taking a perfect game into the ninth inning against the Phillies last week. In addition to Wood (0-0, 2.18), the Reds rotation consists of the reliable Bronson Arroyo (10-4, 3.95 ERA), a Johnny Cueto who seems to be putting it together (8-2, 3.42) and Leake (6-1, 3.53).

"I think we've got the best pitching staff in baseball," said second baseman Brandon Phillips, who hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning.

That 's likely overstating it more than a little -- but one-through-five, they may have the best starting pitching in the division, and that'll be important down the stretch. The Cardinals may be better with their first three, but St. Louis would welcome the guy Cincinnati sent down on Saturday (Matt Maloney) for one of the other two spots.

And with Volquez back, the team added a potential ace.

"For him to go out and pitch like he did today, there's a lot of teams in trouble," Phillips said.

Volquez's quick return should raise some eyebrows, considering his 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs earlier this season. Volquez has stuck to his story that he used a fertility drug to help him start a family with his wife. However, the drug was similar to the one Manny Ramirez was suspended for using a year ago.

Volquez looked similar to the pitcher that made the 2008 All-Star team, with his fastball sitting around 95 mph and a nasty changeup. The one difference was a newfound confidence in his curveball -- that and more hair. A lot more hair, but the curveball was just as natty as the dreads that added a couple of hat sizes to Volquez's melon.

"The last couple of years I didn't throw my curve, [tonight] I threw it a lot," Volquez said. "I felt more comfortable with it than my changeup. Last night I told [Francisco] Cordero my curve was better than my changeup. I told him I'd show him. Today he said, 'yeah, you're right.'"

Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan said he didn't know how they'd use the curveball, but both he and Volquez noticed early on he had a good feel for it and they used it more and more.

"We didn't throw it that much in rehab starts in Triple-A, but he had such a feel for it and threw it so much, he got some quality strikes and strikeouts on that pitch tonight that was great," Hanigan said. "I wasn't expecting it."

Volquez admitted he was a little too excited in the first inning when Dexter Fowler doubled and Carlos Gonzalez singled him in. He needed 22 pitches that inning and used 55 pitches to get through three innings. However the second and third time through the Rockies' lineup, no batter registered a hit.

"By the third, fourth inning, his stuff was ridiculous," Hanigan said. "He threw all his pitches whenever he wanted to with the action I've seen from him in the past. It's impressive to see a guy like that command all his pitches so well in his first start. When he does that, he's tough."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.





Posted on: July 15, 2010 6:33 pm
 

Volquez to start Saturday

Edinson Volquez Less than a year after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, Edinson Volquez will start for the Reds on Saturday.

Volquez, who was suspended 50 games for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs in April, made four starts for Triple-A Louisville, going 3-0 with a 1.96 ERA. In 23 innings with the Bats, he gave up 11 hits, eight walks and stuck out 21.

Bronson Arroyo is scheduled to start on Friday, but the team hasn't announced the rest of its rotation beyond Arroyo and Volquez. Rookie Mike Leake has already thrown 109 2/3 innings, after throwing 142 innings at Arizona State last season.

With Volquez in, the Reds have to figure out the rest of their rotation, and what to do with Leake.

If Volquez pitches like he has in the minor leagues -- hitting 97 on the radar gun -- and passes drug tests, he helps solidify the rotation, along with Arroyo (9-4, 4.04 ERA) and Johnny Cueto (8-2, 3.42). That leaves the fifth spot that's up in the air between veteran Aaron Harang (6-7, 5.02) and rookie Travis Wood, who has been impressive in his three starts so far, posting a 2.18 ERA and even taking a perfect game into the ninth inning of his last start, Saturday at Philadelphia.

The team is also expected to get the talented, if underperforming, Homer Bailey (1-2, 5.51) back and have also seen two nice starts from left-hander Matt Maloney.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.


Posted on: July 11, 2010 1:41 pm
 

Arroyo won't talk extension

Bronson Arroyo Maybe Bronson Arroyo is a fan of The Who, because he says he won't get fooled again.

Stung by signing a contract with Boston in 2006 only to get traded to the Reds before the season started, the Cincinnati right-hander told the Cincinnati Enquirer he plans to follow through with the option year of his contract in 2011. He won't negotiate an extension that would give him more years but reduce his $11 million salary for next season.

"I’m not going to stay for a discount,” he said. "I’ve done that once. Loyalty in this game is the utmost. I got to look out for me. For what I’ve done the last six years in this game, to sign back for less than what my option is would be insane."

That stance puts the Reds in a tough spot, because it means they have to decide right now whether Arroyo is worth $11 million next year at age 34. The buyout on the option is $2 million.

If they're not willing to commit that money, they need to trade him before the deadline, but they're a first-place team and he's been a valuable starter (9-4, 4.04).

On the other hand, Arroyo could bring a big return on the trade market and, if there's any area the Reds have abundance, it's starting pitching. They have Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto and Travis Wood, with Edinson Volquez, Aaron Harang and Homer Bailey due to return from the disabled list.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 3, 2010 1:59 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2010 7:47 pm
 

Cubs silence their own bats


Alfonso Soriano Practice makes perfect? Maybe not. Maybe practice makes Cubs. And that's not good.

Chicago manager Lou Piniella told the Chicago Tribune 's Dave van Dyck that "sometimes less is more" before he cancelled batting practice and closed the Cubs' outfield hitting area before Saturday's game with the Reds.

The Cubs have scored three or fewer runs in 11 of their last 13 games, including five shutouts.

It doesn't help that the team is facing one of the National League's hottest pitchers, Johnny Cueto on Saturday, either. Cueto is 8-2 with a 3.74 ERA and entered the game having given up just 11 hits and one earned run in his last three starts, good for a 1-1 record and a 0.71 ERA.

UPDATE: Well, no real shocker here, but it looks like Piniella knows more about his team -- and baseball -- than I do. The Cubs have hits in each of the first five innings against Cueto, including leadoff hits in four of those innings. As of the bottom of the fifth, though, that hasn't led to any runs. The Cubs now have seven hits, including a leadoff double by Marlon Byrd in the fifth, while Randy Wells has held the NL's leading offense hitless through five.

UPDATE 2: The Cubs banged out 10 hits on Saturday in their 3-1 victory over the Reds, so Piniella's plan worked, although not perfectly. Sure, it's picking nits when you win, but Chicago left 17 runners on base. The National League record for most men left on base in a nine-inning game is 18, done most recently by Atlanta on June 23, 1986. The Yankees left 20 on base on September 21, 1956.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.





Posted on: June 24, 2010 5:06 pm
 

Cueto dials down velocity, succeeds

Johnny Cueto Johnny Cueto took a lesson from Mike Leake and Bronson Arroyo in how to defeat the Athletics.

Leake and Arroyo can't dial their fastball into the high 90s -- unlike Cueto can -- but the two stymied Oakland's bats by putting together a nice blend of velocity and command.

John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer said that Cueto decided to work around 91-92 mph and focus on location instead of rearing back to throw 95 and having questionable control.

Cueto went seven innings, throwing 100 pitches. While he whiffed just four, he walked only two and gave up seven hits, holding the A's scoreless.

As Fay says, it will be interesting to see if Cueto keeps his new mentality. He's got to evolve into a pitcher, not a thrower, and part of doing that is realizing that it's not always about velocity, but about spotting your pitches. Plus, unlike most pitchers, Cueto can dial it up in pressure situations and blow fastballs past the hitter.

Cueto burst on the scene with a great debut in 2008 before fading near the end and finishing with a 4.81 ERA in 31 starts. He faded yet again in 2009 and didn't perform up to expectations, finishing with 30 starts and a 4.41 ERA although he did show improving endurance. This year, he's at a 3.97 ERA in 15 starts, on pace for 200 innings. That would be a career-high, with 2008's 174 innings his current high.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 19, 2010 1:42 am
 

Lee continues to impress


Cliff Lee Cliff Lee did nothing to hurt his trade value on Friday night. Lee shutout the National League's top offense and the Mariners were able to scratch out a single run against Cincinnati starter Johnny Cueto to win 1-0.

Lee was dominant again, striking out seven, walking none while allowing six hits in his third complete game of the season.

Lee improved to 5-3 with a 2.55 ERA, but even more impressive he has 67 strikeouts to four walks. Four.

For the record, Nick Punto, Howie Kendrick, Juan Rivera and Evan Longoria are the select four who have seen four balls in an at-bat from Lee.

Lee is a free agent after this season and the Mariners are currently 26-41 and 13 games out of first in the American League West and 15 games out of the wild card, so it's likely he'll play for his fourth team in the last two seasons sometime before the end of July.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Posted on: June 7, 2010 11:07 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:30 am
 

Cueto victimized by bullpen

If not for his bullpen, the Reds' Johnny Cueto could be the second 10-game winner of the season. Instead, Cueto has five victories and the victim of five blown saves.

Accoding to Elias Sports Bureau, the five "blown wins" are the most of any starter in the big leagues.

Cueto, 5-1 with a 4.25 ERA, didn't have one of his better outings on Monday, allowing 10 hits and four runs in six innings and actually left the gmae down 4-3, but was lifted for pinch-hitter Miguel Cairo, whose two-out RBI single put him in line for the win.

The Giants, though, answered with two runs off of lefty Daniel Ray Herrera to take back the lead.

Cueto had notched victories in his last four outings.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

 
 
 
 
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