Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Could Reds call on Cueto?
By AJ Mass
A strained back problem continues to plague Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tony Cingrani. On Tuesday, Cingrani had to leave his start against the Chicago Cubs in the second inning when he suffered an attack of spasms in his already fragile back.
Cingrani had lasted just four innings on August 20, then spent two weeks on the disabled list before returning to action on September 5. He threw 79 pitches in that contest, a key 6-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. However, there's increasing concern that he may be unable to remain in the Reds rotation with the back issue clearly not resolved.
If Cingrani can't be counted on, then the Reds might well be tempted to rush Johnny Cueto back into the rotation. On Sunday, Cueto threw 30 pitches in batting practice, and the next step in his recovery from a lat injury would be to schedule a simulated game.
Manager Dusty Baker, though, liked what he saw on Sunday, "He looked very good. He was sharp for the amount of time he's been out. He had good command, good velocity and his pitches were pretty sharp. His mechanics are so sound that he's not going to be too far off."
With two series still left against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the expected plan of using Cueto out of the bullpen to ease him back into major league action may no longer be in effect. And if the thrice-injured Cueto isn't really ready, the damage in throwing too many pitches too soon could well last into 2014.