Cueto and Bray return
For the most part, Johnny Cueto looked pretty decent as he returned to action for the Reds following his stint for the Dominican in the World Baseball Classic.
Cueto gave up one earned run and four hits with one walk and two strikeouts against the Blue Jays. The 23-year-old threw 73 pitches, with 42 strikes. Batters received first-pitch strikes 11 of 18 times.
A long first inning, including a nine-pitch at-bat with Scott Rolen, had Cueto use a total of 24 pitches. Cueto got Rolen to strikeout on a fastball outside the strike zone and returned to throw nine pitches total in the second inning.
“Johnny looked good,” catcher Ryan Hanigan said. “I was impressed with his ability to throw his fastball under the hands of righties on a consistent basis when we needed that pitch. He changed speeds well. I would have liked to see him get ahead a little bit more but what was positive for sure was when he did get into trouble, it wasn’t often, he didn’t panic and made pitches. He didn’t make mistakes when guys were on base.”
- Reds manager Dusty Baker said the other day that Cueto would be the Reds’ No. 4 starter.
- Question for you — does anyone think Cueto will move forward in his sophomore season? Any concerns after he went 9-14 as a rookie?
- Reliever Bill Bray followed Cueto and worked one scoreless inning with two hits, one walk and one strikeout. Bray hadn’t pitched in eight days before he was bothered by a sore left hamstring. The last outing was his first one because he started late with a sore shoulder.
“The hamstring is great. Everything is good,” Bray said. “My shoulder was good 2 ½ weeks ago. I decided to go running in the outfield one day and it popped. I was kind of like ‘what next?’ But I couldn’t control that. It’s just great to be back out there.”
- Nick Masset, the fifth starter candidate behind Owings and Bailey, gave up two earned runs and four hits over 2 2/3 innings. Masset walked three and struck out four. Not a great line but I can’t offer much insight since I was in the clubhouse during much of his outing. But that’s three lackluster games in four tries and I have to imagine he’s pitched himself out of the picture for the No. 5. He has a 6.75 ERA going so far.
- Toronto won the game, 5-4, in the 10th inning. Carlos Fisher gave up a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th. It was the first run Fisher gave up after working 3 2/3 scoreless innings over his previous three appearances.