Cueto not optimistic to return in 2011

Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto and his strained right lat muscle were examined today. While he said the visit went well, he wasn’t optimistic about returning to the mound in 2011.

“I don’t think so,” Cueto said in English.

As reporters started to gather however, Cueto asked for a Spanish-language translator. He altered his outlook slightly but he is definitely not going to make his next start on Monday.

“I don’t know at this point,” Cueto said via translator Tomas Vera. “I want to throw but it hurts. I feel sore. It’s painful right now. As the doctor told me, I will most likely lose the next outing but we’ll see how it progresses to see if I can pitch one more time.”

The club brass, along with Cueto and the medical staff are slated to meet later today to go over the options. With the Reds eliminated, is there any point in risking Cueto’s arm health long term?

“I don’t know if there is going to be a benefit,” he said. “I don’t want to get any medication in my shoulder just to pitch one more time. I just want to see if I feel OK to pitch one more time. If not, I just have to get ready and be healthy for next year.”

Cueto is six innings shy of qualifying for the ERA and his 2.31 ERA and trails Clayton Kershaw’s 2.30 ERA by the slightest of margins. That won’t factor too much in the decision to pitch.

“He’s going to skip a start so you at least have nine, or possibly 10, days,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We’ll see. It just depends on how he feels. If he feels OK, then possibly. The key word is ‘possibly.’ If he doesn’t, then he definiutely is not.”

Baker hasn’t made a decision about who will start in Cueto’s place on Monday vs. the Astros. The two likeliest candidates are Travis Wood and Matt Maloney. Baker also said it could be used as ‘bullpen day.’

2 Comments

I think there’s little point in pushing Cueto to start again. Even going over .500 looks like a bridge too far, right now. Just blow it all off and start over in the off-season. To weigh in on the Opening Day lineup Friday, April 6 2012:

Phillips, 2B
Cozart, SS
Alonso, LF
Votto, 1B
Bruce, RF
Rolen or Frazier, 3B
Mesoraco, C
Stubbs, CF
Pitcher, P

Wasn’t that odd, Stubbs batting second the other night? Not a good plan going forward. Hardly ever seen any batter worse at moving the base runner along. Wonder what that was about.

See my post about getting rid of Dusty and getting Leyland down here.

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