Cueto out, Maloney in

There is a good chance that Johnny Cueto won’t be on the mound for Thursday’s series opener vs. the Marlins. On Wednesday, Cueto had what what appeared to be the flu and was allowed to skip the taking of the team picture. He left the ballpark.

“We’ll back Cueto up if he’s not feeling better,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We sent him home. I doubt that he’ll be better tomorrow. He might be but he’ll probably feel weak.”

If Cueto can’t go, lefty Matt Maloney will take his place. Maloney had to leave his previous start in Colorado last week with a middle finger blister but he threw on the side Tuesday without issue.

8:39 pm UPDATE: The Reds made it official — Maloney will start instead of Cueto.

Reds lineup:

Stubbs 8
Janish 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Gomes 7
Balentien 7
Tatum 2
Lehr 1

Although Baker said that Ryan Hanigan would get the bulk of catching duties when he returned from the DL last Wednesday, he has started only three of the last eight games including tonight. However, he appeared in seven of the games in some fashion.

Corky Miller, who has done a superb job behind the plate since coming up (team is 9-3, 3.07 ERA) and Baker is also trying to get Craig Tatum some work.

“You can only catch one at a time,” Baker said. “They end up getting in the games because of pinch-running and pinch-hitting. I have him slated for two of the four games with Florida and Miller for two. And Tatum today.”

The depth has been a plus during games like Tuesday’s win. Miller was on first base in the seventh inning when he was lifted for a pinch-runner that scored the go-ahead run.

“That’s why we wanted an extra catcher, especially at this time of year,” Baker said. “There’s a good chance we’ll run for all three of them and pinch-hit for at least two of them.”

The catching rotation could get more interesting when Ramon Hernandez returns from the DL, possibly as early as this weekend.

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http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

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