Consequences of Cueto injury?

***UPDATE: Johnny Cueto left today’s game after only one inning with stiffness in his right biceps. He will fly to Cincinnati Sunday and be examined by Kremchek on Monday. Cueto was supposed to throw 50-60 pitches over 3-4 innings.

However, the club voiced optimism that the injury might not be serious. Pitching coach Bryan Price noted that Cueto’s pre-game warm-up went without a hitch and that he only felt discomfort on a couple of pitches.

“It’s that time of year where you have to be ultra-cautious,” Price said. “You don’t want this guy battling something the whole first half of the year. Nip it in the bud right now and we’re in good shape. Hopefully it’s not a major issue. I don’t think it is but I’m not a doctor. It’s better than the last time that he threw but it’s not 100 percent. We just didn’t want to take the chance of making it worse.

“If it was the playoffs, I don’t think he would’ve said anything about it at all.”

You may recall that Cueto exited his March 11 vs. TEX after two innings because of stiffness in his forearm and biceps. After a couple of days off and having his next start pushed back, he had been long tossing.

Even if the Reds downplay the injury and even if it isn’t serious, this is still a development that could create some havoc with the rotation.

The Reds are close enough to the regular season that you’ve got to think Cueto won’t get enough work to be ready. This could mean that Homer Bailey, Travis Wood and Mike Leake can all make the rotation. Wood, coincidentally, is starting the other split squad game @ARZ. He could slide into the No. 3 spot of the rotation.

Of course with all the days off early on, the Reds may not even need five starters right away. (***Upon further review, they would need a 5th starter as soon as April 9.)

Cueto signed a four-year, $27 million contract over the winter. Obviously, he underwent a full physical before the contract was inked and passed with flying colors.

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