Johnny Cueto had a season to forget in 2017. The two-time All-Star struggled while pitching with a blister for decent chunk of the first half and had developed three blisters on his throwing hand by the time he landed on the disabled list in July. Cueto then suffered a flexor strain while rehabbing, with that setback costing him an additional month. He wasn't much better upon his return, but Cueto faced the Rockies twice as well as the Dodgers and Diamondbacks in September. The right-hander turns 32 in February, has nearly 1,800 major-league innings on his arm and just experienced a big uptick in walks (8.2 percent) and homers (1.34 HR/9). The blisters probably hurt his performance, but there's no guarantee those issues will go away. He will be back in San Francisco after choosing not to opt out this winter.
Cueto is being eased into throwing because he dealt with the flu shortly before flying to Arizona for spring training, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The decision to ease the right-hander into throwing was initially assumed to just be something typical with veteran pitchers, but it turns out there was another reason behind it. Despite this, this is hardly anything to be concerned about, as Cueto will likely be back to 100 percent in the next few days once he gets more rest. Once he's healthy, he'll look to bounce back after an injury-plagued season in which he produced a a lofty 4.52 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in 147.1 innings pitched.
Cueto is set to participate in long-toss sessions over the next few days before getting back to the mound, Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic reports. Not uncommon for a veteran, Cueto will take it easy at the beginning of spring training after dealing with blister issues and a flexor strain during the 2017 season. In all, he posted a 4.52 ERA and 1.45 WHIP over 147.1 innings, while sporting a 136:53 K:BB. Because of his injury-plagued year, Cueto's status should be monitored throughout the spring camp.
According to his agent Bryce Dixon, Cueto will not opt out of the final four years of his contract with the Giants, Andrew Baggarly of The San Jose Mercury News reports. After a lackluster 2017 season in which he posted a 4.52 ERA -- his highest ERA total since his rookie season with the Reds -- Cueto has decided to lock in the final four years of his contract with the Giants as opposed to testing the open market. The 31-year-old is owed $84 million over the remainder of his contract and will head into the 2018 season with his sights set on returning to his pre-2017 form.
Cueto allowed four runs on 12 hits across five innings in a no-decision against the Padres on Sunday. He struck out two and walked none. Cueto was touched up for two runs on five hits in the first inning before allowing a solo home run to Hunter Renfroe in the third. He labored through the fourth inning, when he allowed another run, and was pulled with 93 pitches under his belt after the fifth. So concludes a disappointing season for Cueto, who finishes with a 4.52 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP through 147 innings. The veteran has an opt-out clause in his contract for 2017, but he seems unlikely to command as much money at this point if he did indeed sign with another club.
Cueto (8-8) picked up the win Monday after firing six innings of two-run ball with five hits, two walks and eight strikeouts in a 9-2 victory over the Diamondbacks. Cueto wasn't a lock for a strong outing against a potent Arizona lineup following his up-and-down 2017 campaign, but he proved to be up to the task and rewarded fantasy owners with his second consecutive quality start. The 31-year-old appears to have regained his dominant stuff, striking out 29 batters over his last four outings (21.2 innings). Cueto will look to finish his season on a strong note in a favorable matchup against the Padres on Sunday.