Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto had a strong outing for Class A Bakersfield.on Tuesday. Cueto reach his pitch limit two batters into the sixth inning, he asked pitching coach Jeff Pico for one more batter.
Unfortunately for Johnny, he would not get his wish, but it’s great to hear that Cueto was pitching strong into the later innings.
“I said I need one more,Pico said, ‘No you’re finished,’” Cueto said.
Before Tuesday’s outing against Class A Advanced Carolina, Cueto’s previous start was scratched after he felt discomfort in his right scapula. Because he was limited to 11 starts in the 2013 regular season because of a strained right lat muscle, the club obviously took no chances.
“He might have been able to go five days ago,” Pico said. “As a precautionary reason, we wanted to make sure he was ready to go. So we held him out of that game and he got treatment. It’s great to see he’s feeling really good now.”
In five-plus innings, Cueto allowed six earned runs and seven hits with one walk and 11 strikeouts. He threw 89 pitches, including 59 for strikes. Four of the runs and five of the hits came in the first inning, before Cueto settled into a groove.
Cueto struck out the side in the second inning. A couple of his fastballs in the outing reached 94 mph. The most important thing, is that he settled down big time after the first inning.
“I’m happy today, I threw everything fine,” Cueto said. “I’m ready to go for the season.”
“The main thing was that he felt great and he felt healthy and he felt strong,” Pico said. “That was No. 1 on my list. He went in and out of his rotation a bit early, getting lateral a bit, but corrected that as the game went on and threw some really good pitches today.”
Pico sent Cueto back out to face two more batters in the sixth. One reached on an infield hit, and another singled to center field, after that Cueto was departed from the game.
“I wanted him to get up and down six times,” Pico said. “I know he only had a few more pitches left in him. That’s the number we wanted to get to, and it was just a matter of sitting down and going back out six times.”
Cueto has started the last two Opening Days for the Reds, and, until his injury, he seemed to have the inside track to be tapped by manager Bryan Price for Monday’s opening day against the Cardinals.
“I don’t know yet; I don’t know what’s going on,” Cueto said. “I will be ready. I want to. Bryan has said nothing.”
We will find out in the next couple of days, on the starter for Monday. When we do, RFB will update for you all.