Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto is on the disabled list and hasn't pitched since April 28 because of what was being termed "elbow inflammation." Cueto underwent and MRI, the results of which were troubling and or inconclusive enough to prompt a trip to Dr. James Andrews.
So often when pitchers visit the famed surgeon with an elbow complaint, Tommy John surgery, a lengthy period of convalescence and some degree of career uncertainty all ensue. For Cueto, though, the results of his visit are reportedly far less grim ...
Actually, a sprain is a slight tear, but the ligament is still attached. Furthermore, Alex Pavlovic puts Cueto's timeline as six to eight weeks as opposed to a firm six weeks. Even if it's two months, though, this is good outcome for Cueto and the Giants. Tommy John surgery was the worst-case scenario (and perhaps the likeliest end result), so in that context this is a positive. It's of course possible that Cueto will eventually suffer a full tear of the ligament, but for now he's in line to return at some point in the first half of the season. That's a good thing, given the Giants' rotation concerns and given that Cueto has allowed just three runs in 32 innings this season.
Taking the longer view, the Giants have done an excellent job of remaining relevant despite Jeff Samardzija's struggles, Cueto's injury concerns, and their not getting a single pitch from Madison Bumgarner (hand fracture). At this writing, the Giants are 19-15, and if they can continue to stay above the waterline until Bumgarner returns possibly before Cueto, then they may grade out as playoff contenders in the second half.