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Johnny Cueto will make first start since late June on Monday evening against the Astros

Sep 15, 2013, 1:47 PM EDT

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The Reds have a nice cushion on the Nationals for the second NL Wild Card spot and are only 2 1/2 games back in the National League Central division.

Now comes a potential boost for the rotation.

According to C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, right-hander Johnny Cueto will start for the first time since June 28 this Monday in the Reds’ series-opener against the Astros at Minute Maid Park. Cueto was out for about two and a half months with a strained right lat muscle and did not have the luxury of making a rehab start, so Reds manager Dusty Baker is trying to keep expectations low.

“We’ll see what we can get out of him,” Baker told the Enquirer on Sunday morning. “It’s worth a try, because he’s Johnny Cueto. The more we get out of him (Monday) and the more we get out of him the next time, maybe who knows what he’ll be ready for come playoff time.”

Cueto boasts a 2.67 ERA (151 ERA+) in 421 2/3 innings since the start of the 2011 season, but he’s made three different trips to the disabled list since switching to his Luis Tiant-style mechanics.

  1. thomas844 - Sep 15, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    Hopefully he stays healthy. The Astros are at least a good place to start when he comes back. Having him bolsters the rotation and, if Cingrani gets healthy soon, he can be a weapon out of the bullpen.

  2. e5tolife - Sep 15, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    A games against the Astros is the same as a minor league rehab assignment. However cueto is will be hurt again before the playoffs.

  3. jm91rs - Sep 16, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    Cueto switched to his current mechanics a few years ago. All of those trips to the DL happened after last September so I don’t think it’s just the switch in mechanics that landed him on the DL. He tweaked it once (while holding up on a pitch to Hunter Pence after Pence backed out of the box quickly) and I don’t think it ever fully healed. He probably needs to lose some weight and strengthen his core a bit and that windup might work fine. He could also take a little of the twisting out of it so that the strain is not so severe.

    If he can get a few starts in before the playoffs and get up to 5 or 6 innings he’ll be a huge weapon for the Reds. With Cingrani as another lefty in the pen it could be like a nice mid season addition.

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