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Reds Division Series rotation now officially is a work in progress

By Scott Miller | Senior Baseball Columnist

SAN FRANCISCO -- So what happens to the Reds' rotation now?

Good question. The Reds won't know until Sunday, when they begin to get an idea of how Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos respond after Saturday's Game 1 craziness.

"No idea," pitching coach Bryan Price said late Saturday night. "We're going to have to wait until at least [Sunday] to see whether it's just spasms or cramps with Johnny or something more.

"We'll have to look at our alternatives."

If the Reds get a break and it is only spasms or cramps with Cueto, he probably will be able to come back to start Game 3 on Tuesday, when Latos originally was scheduled. And if he needs an extra day, they could move Homer Bailey, now scheduled to start Wednesday's Game 4, into the Game 3 slot and use Cueto for Game 4.

That's the easy part.

If Cueto has something more like an oblique strain, then Cincinnati probably will be forced to use Bailey in Game 3, and the Reds will have to determine whether Latos could come back for Game 4 after throwing 57 pitches on Saturday, plus a light pre-game bullpen session.

After saving the Reds on Saturday, Latos said he has "no idea when I'll be ready. We'll have to fly by the seat of our pants. We've got the starters to give me rest if I need it."

One option could be activating Mike Leake, who spent all season in the rotation but was left off of the Division Series roster. But if the Reds take Cueto off the roster and add Leake, then Cueto is not eligible for the NL Championship Series if Cincinnati advances.

Cueto was optimistic following Cincinnati's 5-2 Game 1 win that he's not down for the count.

"I would say yes," he said when asked whether he thinks he can pitch again against the Giants. "I really feel better right now. But I have to see how I feel tomorrow when I come back."

That will be the big question facing the Reds on Sunday when they convene for Game 2, and begin to draw up plans for the rest of the series.

 
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