Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto left his Saturday start against the Pirates after only 4 1/3 innings pitched. At the time, the Reds said it was only a precautionary move and his issue was pain in the triceps. On Sunday, however, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is reporting that Cueto will hit the DL due to a strained lat muscle.
Cueto, 27, is 1-0 with a 2.60 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 18 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings this season. Last year, he went 19-9 with a 2.78 ERA and finished fourth in NL Cy Young voting.
With Cueto on the shelf, my best guess is long reliever/jack-of-all-trades Sam LeCure would join the rotation -- if Cueto's timetable for return is short and they only need one or two spot starts. LeCure has made 10 career starts and has thrown the ball well this year.
If Cueto is out for an extended period of time, it would make more sense to turn to prospect Tony Cingrani. In two starts for Triple-A Louisville this season prior to Sunday, Cingrani has yet to allow a run in 12 1/3 innings and has recorded 21 strikeouts. And the smoking gun here is that Cingrani was limited to two innings Sunday due directly to the Cueto situation. So be prepared for a promotion.
An interesting note here is that the Reds avoided injuries to their rotation all last season. They were one of only nine teams in MLB history to get at least 30 starts out of five pitchers.